Access to and Use of Leave Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, August 29, 2019		                 USDL-19-1542

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


                      ACCESS TO AND USE OF LEAVE -- 2017-2018
                      DATA FROM THE AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY


In 2017-18, 66 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid leave at their
jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was an increase from
2011, when 60 percent of workers had access to paid leave.  

These findings are from a supplementary set of questions--the 2017-18 Leave and Job
Flexibilities Module--that was asked as part of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS),
and sponsored by the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau. The data on leave were
collected directly from wage and salary workers, excluding the self-employed.
Workers sometimes do not know whether they can use leave until they have a need
to do so. The measures of leave apply only to a person's sole or main job. For
individuals with more than one job, this is the job in which they usually work the
most hours. For more information about the ATUS Leave and Job Flexibilities Module,
see the Technical Note.

Comparisons 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.  

Access to paid or unpaid leave in 2017-18:

   --On average, 66 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid leave at
     their jobs. Seventy-eight percent of wage and salary workers had access to unpaid
     leave, and an additional 9 percent were unsure whether they had access to unpaid
     leave. Ninety-three percent of workers had access to either paid or unpaid leave.
     (See table 2.)

   --The percentage of wage and salary workers with access to paid leave increased
     from 60 percent in 2011 to 66 percent in 2017-18. The gains in access to paid
     leave were widespread across demographic and other characteristics. (See table 1.)

   --The percentage of women with access to paid leave increased from 58 percent in
     2011 to 65 percent in 2017-18. The percentage of men with access to paid leave
     increased from 62 percent to 67 percent over the same time period. (See table 1.)

   --The wage and salary workers most likely to have access to paid leave were in
     management, business, and financial operations occupations (82 percent);
     installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (79 percent); and professional
     and related occupations (76 percent). Workers least likely to have access to paid
     leave were in construction and extraction occupations (36 percent) and service
     occupations (43 percent). (See table 2.) 

   --Seventy-nine percent of public-sector workers had access to paid leave, compared
     with 63 percent of private-sector workers. (See table 2.)

   --Among single jobholders, full-time workers were about three times more likely than
     part-time workers to have access to paid leave--77 percent, compared with 23 percent.
     (See table 2.)

   --Among full-time wage and salary workers with only one job, higher earners had greater
     access to paid leave. Eighty-six percent of workers in the top 25 percent of earners
     had access to paid leave, compared with 57 percent of workers who were among the
     lowest 25 percent of earners.  (See table 2.)

   --Vacation (95 percent) and own illness or medical care (94 percent) were the most
     common reasons for which workers could use paid leave. The most common reasons
     for which workers could use unpaid leave were for own illness or medical care
     (93 percent) and illness or medical care of a family member (86 percent). (See
     table 3.) 

   --Wage and salary workers who could work at home as part of their job were more
     likely to have access to paid leave (81 percent) than were workers who could
     not work at home (60 percent). (See table 2.)

Use of paid or unpaid leave in 2017-18:

   --During an average week, 21 percent of wage and salary workers took leave, either
     paid or unpaid, from their job. These workers took an average of 13.7 hours of
     leave. (See table 4.)

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

   --Women were more likely than men to take leave from their jobs during an average
     week (23 percent, compared with 19 percent). Of those who took leave during an
     average week, women were more likely than men to take leave because a family member
     was ill or needed medical care (10 percent, compared with 6 percent). (See table 4.)

   --Of those wage and salary workers who took leave from their jobs during an average
     week, about two-thirds used paid leave. (See table 5.)

   --Among workers who took leave during an average week, parents living with children
     under age 18 were more likely to take leave because a family member was ill or needed
     medical care than were workers who were not parents living with children (13 percent,
     compared with 5 percent). Those who were not parents were more likely to take leave
     for their own illness or medical care (24 percent) than were workers who were parents
     of household children (18 percent). (See table 4.)

Non-use of leave in 2017-18:

   --Nine percent of wage and salary workers needed to take leave during an average month,
     but for various reasons did not take leave. About one-third of these workers needed
     to take leave for their own illness or medical care, and about one-third needed to
     take leave for errands or personal reasons. (See table 7.)

   --During an average month, women were more likely than men to experience times when
     they needed to take leave but did not (10 percent, compared with 7 percent). Of 
     those women who needed to take leave but did not, the most common reason for needing
     leave was for their own illness or medical care (42 percent). By comparison, men
     most often needed leave for errands or personal reasons (40 percent). (See table 7.)  

   --Of those workers who needed to take leave during an average month but did not, 23
     percent did not take leave because they had too much work, 21 percent did not take
     leave because they feared negative employment consequences or because their leave
     request was denied, and 15 percent did not take leave because they could not afford
     the loss in income. (See table 8.)



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Last Modified Date: August 29, 2019