Access to and Use of Leave -- 2011 Data from the American Time Use Survey Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, August 16, 2012                       USDL-12-1648

Technical information:  (202) 691-6339  *  atusinfo@bls  *  www.bls.gov/tus
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                              ACCESS TO AND USE OF LEAVE--2011
                          DATA FROM THE AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY


In 2011, 90 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid or unpaid leave
at their main jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Twenty-one
percent of wage and salary workers took paid or unpaid leave during an average week.
Workers who took leave during an average week took an average of 15.6 hours of leave.
Fifty-six percent of wage and salary workers were able to adjust their work schedules
or location instead of taking leave or because they did not have access to leave in
2011. Seven percent of workers made such an adjustment in an average week.

These findings are from a supplementary set of questions asked as part of the 2011
American Time Use Survey (ATUS). The ATUS is a continuous household survey that
provides estimates on how people spend their time. The data on wage and salary
workers' access to leave, use of leave, and ability to adjust their work schedules 
were collected as part of the 2011 Leave Module sponsored by the Department of
Labor's Women's Bureau. These data on leave were collected directly from wage and
salary workers. The data thus represent only workers' knowledge on these topics.
Workers sometimes do not know whether they can use leave or adjust their work
schedules or location until they have a need to do so. For more information about
the ATUS Leave Module, see the Technical Note.

Access to paid or unpaid leave in 2011:

   --On average, 59 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid leave.
     Seventy-seven percent of wage and salary workers had access to unpaid leave
     and an additional 7 percent of workers were unsure whether they had access
     to unpaid leave. Ninety percent of workers had access to either paid or
     unpaid leave. (See table 1.)

   --Men and women were about equally likely to have access to paid or unpaid
     leave at their main jobs in 2011. Ninety percent of men had access to paid
     or unpaid leave compared with 91 percent of women. Comparisons of access
     to leave in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for
     many factors that can be important in explaining differences in leave access,
     including differences in the distribution of workers by their full- or
     part-time work status, educational attainment, and occupation. (See
     table 1.)

   --By occupation, workers in management, business, and financial operations
     jobs were the most likely to have access to paid leave (77 percent). (See
     table 1.)

   --Seventy-six percent of workers in the public sector had access to paid
     leave, compared with 57 percent of private-sector workers. (See
     table 1.)

   --Among single jobholders, full-time wage and salary workers were more
     than 3 times as likely to have access to paid leave than were part-time
     workers--71 percent compared with 22 percent. (See table 1.)

   --Among single jobholders, 83 percent of full-time wage and salary workers
     in the highest earnings range had access to paid leave, compared with
     50 percent of full-time workers in the lowest earnings range. Each
     earnings range represents approximately 25 percent of full-time wage
     and salary workers. (See table 1.)

   --Among wage and salary workers age 25 and over, 72 percent of workers with
     a bachelor's degree or higher had access to paid leave, compared with 35
     percent of workers with less than a high school diploma. (See table 1.)

Use of paid or unpaid leave in 2011:

   --Twenty-one percent of wage and salary workers took paid or unpaid leave
     during an average week. Workers who took leave during an average week
     took an average of 15.6 hours of leave. (See tables 3 and 4.)

   --Women were slightly more likely than men to take leave from their jobs
     during an average week--23 percent compared with 20 percent. (See
     table 3.)

   --In an average week, 6 percent of wage and salary workers reported their
     main reason for taking leave was a vacation, 5 percent took leave because
     they were ill or needed medical care, and 4 percent took leave mainly to
     run errands or for personal reasons. (See table 4.)

   --Of those wage and salary workers who took leave from their main jobs during
     an average week, 57 percent used only paid leave and 40 percent used only
     unpaid leave. Three percent of these workers used a combination of paid and
     unpaid leave. (See table 3.)

Ability to adjust work schedule or location instead of taking time off from work
in 2011:

   --Fifty-six percent of wage and salary workers were able to adjust their work
     schedules or location of their main jobs instead of taking time off from
     work in 2011. This includes wage and salary workers who adjusted their work
     schedules or location instead of taking leave as well as those who did so
     because they did not have access to leave but needed time off from work.
     (See table 5.)

   --Men and women were equally likely to be able to adjust their work schedules
     or location instead of taking time off from work. (See table  5.)

   --Among wage and salary workers age 25 and over, 61 percent of those with a
     bachelor's degree or higher were able to adjust their work schedules or
     location instead of taking time off from work, compared with only 38
     percent of workers with less than a high school diploma. (See table 5.)

   --In an average week in 2011, 7 percent of wage and salary workers adjusted
     their work schedules or location of their main jobs instead of taking time
     off from work. (See table 6.)

  --Parents of a household child under the age of 13 were more likely to adjust
     their work schedules or location instead of taking time off from work in an
     average week than workers who were not a parent of a household child under
     18--10 percent compared with 6 percent. (See table 6.)

Additional data

All ATUS 2011 data files, including the Leave Module data files, are available for
users to do their own tabulations and analyses. In accordance with BLS and Census
Bureau policies that protect survey respondents' privacy, identifying information 
was removed from the data files and some responses have been edited. The 2011 data
files are available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/tus/data.htm.



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Last Modified Date: August 16, 2012