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Nearly half of workers in California don’t get paid sick days, analysis finds

Forty four percent of workers in California don’t get any paid sick days, according to a new analysis.

That finding is part of a briefing paper published Tuesday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which advocates for such policies, and it offers estimates on paid sick day access in California by sex, race, ethnicity, earnings, occupation, part-time status and county.

The state legislature is expected by the end of the month to address a bill mandating paid time off. If legislators pass the measure, for which unions have long advocated, California could become the second state with such a requirement. (Connecticut is the first, and the New Jersey Assembly is poised to take up the policy next month.)

The California bill — AB 1522 — passed the assembly in May and is being amended in the Senate. With the new amendments, the California Chamber of Commerce plans to remove the bill’s “job-killer” label, a spokeswoman recently told the Los Angeles Times.

The new IWPR analysis offers estimates broken down into several categories and based on two government datasets. The first, the National Health Interview Survey, offers a wealth of information on access to paid sick days, but is limited by region: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. The second, the American Community Survey, offers rich and local data but not on paid sicks days. To get the estimates on access to paid sick days, the report’s author, Jessica Milli, created a model from the NHIS data and applied it to the ACS data. What follows are some of the briefing’s key takeaways.

A computer worker is more than four times as likely to have a paid sick day as the fast-food worker

As the chart below shows, 86 percent of those employed in the computer and math fields had access to paid sick days, more than in any other occupation. Among those working in food preparation and serving-related jobs, that rate is just 19 percent.

Paid Sick Days Access Rates by Occupation in California, 2012. (IWPR)

Access to paid sick days rises with earnings

Paid Sick Days Access Rates by Earnings for Full-Time Workers in California, 2012. (IWPR)

Full-time workers are much more likely to get paid sick days

Paid Sick Days Access Rates by Hours Worked in California, 2012. (IWPR)

Women, non-Hispanics, and government workers get better access than their counterparts

Paid Sick Days Access Rates by Sex and Race and Ethnicity in California, 2012. (IWPR)

Santa Clara, Marin and Contra Costa counties have the highest rates of access to paid sick days

Paid Sick Days Access Rates by County in California, 2012. (IWPR)



Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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