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In the United States, who receives paid sick leave, in four graphs

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As congressional lawmakers squabble over a labor deal to raise railroad workers’ wages and avert an impending strike, a key element was omitted from the bill sent to President Joe Biden’s office this week: mandating paid sick leave .

After a separate vote failed to add seven days of paid sick leave for freight workers, the finalized deal highlights a decision facing millions of workers – choosing between their health and their income.

About 1 in 5 civilian workers in the United States do not have paid sick leave, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And although the share of the workforce with access to these benefits has increased from 67% to 79% from 2010 to 2022, whether an employee can be sick while being paid depends on several factors, including their place of residence and the sector in which he works. .

Teachers were the most likely to receive paid sick leave in 2022, followed by management employees and nurses, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers in construction, mining and agriculture have the lowest likelihood, with two-thirds able to take paid sick leave. This group also represents the largest increase in access from pre-pandemic levels.

Paid sick leave was at the heart of the dispute between railway workers and freight companies, with some workers demanding seven days of paid sick leave. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the vast majority of unionized workers nationwide can take paid time off.

Many sick leave mandates allow workers to take 5-8 paid sick days, depending on the number of hours worked and the number of employees in the company.

The United States is an exception when it comes to national sick leave policy, a point President Biden called attention to in a statement urging Congress to pass the legislation earlier this week.

Sick leave mandates have been enacted in 17 states, many cities and Washington, D.C. And most states requiring paid sick leave – including Arizona, Massachusetts and Michigan – have passed these laws in years before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that access to paid sick leave has increased in most of the United States from 2019 to 2022, except for the region comprising Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Several states, including these four, have passed legislation preventing cities and counties from enacting paid sick leave. In 2021, Texas became the latest to ban city ordinances requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave.

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