Number of paid sick leave days in 2015 varies by length of service and establishment size

January 13, 2016

January and February, the middle of the cold and flu season, typically are the peak months when people miss work because of illnesses. How many workers can use paid sick leave when they can’t go to work because of illness or other medical concerns? In March 2015, 61 percent of workers in private industry had paid sick leave benefits. 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.

 

 

Number of paid sick leave days per year for workers in private industry, by length of service and establishment size, March 2015
Length of service All establishments 1 to 49 workers 50 to 99 workers 100 workers or more

After 1 year

7 6 7 8

After 5 years

8 7 7 9

After 10 years

8 7 8 9

After 20 years

9 7 8 10

On average, workers in private industry received 7 days of sick leave per year at 1 year of service. The average was 8 days at 5 and 10 years of service and 9 sick days per year at 20 years of service. Employees in establishments with 1 to 49 workers or 50 to 99 workers received fewer paid sick days on average than employees in establishments with 100 workers or more.

What about workers who don’t use all their sick leave each year? Can they carry it over to use in future years? In March 2015, 47 percent of workers in private industry who received a fixed number of paid sick days could carry over unused sick days from year to year. Usually there was a limit to the number of days these workers could carry over. The remaining 53 percent of workers in private industry could not carry over unused sick days from one year to the next.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. For more information, see “National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2015.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Number of paid sick leave days in 2015 varies by length of service and establishment size on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/number-of-paid-sick-leave-days-in-2015-varies-by-length-of-service-and-establishment-size.htm (visited July 24, 2017).

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