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May 26, 2010
BLS Report on Paid Sick Leave
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has issued a new report in its Program Perspectives series examining paid sick leave benefits, including both the percentage of employees with access to paid sick leave and the associated employer costs.

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The report shows that length of service had minimal impact on paid sick leave provisions, but several other worker and company characteristics did affect the provisions. Additionally, BLS’ report reveals that worker characteristics contributed to the differing employer costs associated with providing paid sick leave benefits. The data contained in the report are from the National Compensation Surveys on Employee Benefits in the United States and Employer Costs for Employee Compensation.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Private industry workers access to paid sick leave benefits varied by occupational group and ranged from 84 percent for management, professional, and related occupations to 42 percent for service workers.
  • Eighty-one percent of employees earning wages in the highest 25 percent of the wage distribution had access to paid sick leave, compared with only 33 percent for employees in the lowest 25 percent.
  • In private industry, employees received an average of 8 days of paid sick leave after 1 year of service, with large establishments providing an average of 11 days and small establishments offering an average of 6 days.
  • The cost for sick leave per employee hour worked in State and local government was 81 cents compared to 23 cents in private industry.
  • Higher paying occupations typically incur higher sick leave costs.  For example, the average employer cost for sick leave benefits in management, professional, and related occupations was 53 cents per employee hour worked in private industry; the cost for service occupations was just 8 cents per employee hour worked.

The new publication Program Prospectives: On Paid Sick Leave is available on the BLS website.

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