BLS Tallies Variance in Paid Sick Leave

After one year of service, workers in private industry at the largest category of company got eight days of paid leave. After 20 years’ service, it increased to 10 days.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, noting that cold- and flu-related absences peak in January and February, has tallied the number of paid sick leave days that are available to workers in private industry. At the largest category of company, those with 100 or more workers, employees get eight days of paid leave. The number for employees with 20 years' service is only two days more.

How many workers get paid sick leave? In March 2015, 61 percent of workers in private industry had paid sick leave benefits, according to BLS. "About 7 in 10 of those workers received a fixed number of sick leave days each year. Most of the rest received sick leave through a consolidated leave plan, which provides a single amount of time off for workers to use for any purpose. Among those who received a fixed number of sick leave days, the amount varied depending on the employee's length of service and the size of the establishment," it reported.

As for whether workers who get sick leave can carry over unused sick days to the following year, BLS reported most cannot. In March 2015, 47 percent of workers in private industry who received a fixed number of paid sick days were allowed to carry over unused sick days from year to year, and usually there is a limit to the number of days they can carry over.

The data come from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program.

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    January 2019

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