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Private industry workers with sick leave benefits received more days at larger establishments

April 02, 2020

How many workers can use paid sick leave when they can’t go to work because of illness or other medical concerns? In March 2019, 73 percent of workers in private industry had paid sick leave benefits. Sixty-five percent of those workers received a fixed number of sick leave days each year. Four percent could use sick days as needed, and the rest were in consolidated leave plans, which provide time off for workers to use for a variety of purposes. Among private industry workers who received a fixed number of sick leave days, the amount varied somewhat depending on the employee’s length of service and the size of the establishment.

Average number of paid sick leave days per year for workers in private industry, by length of service and establishment size, March 2019
Length of service All establishments 1 to 49 workers 50 to 99 workers 100 to 499 workers 500 workers or more

After 1 year

7 6 6 7 8

After 5 years

7 7 6 7 9

After 10 years

7 7 7 7 9

After 20 years

7 7 7 7 9

On average, workers in private industry received 7 days of sick leave per year after 1 year of service. The average also was 7 days after 5, 10, and 20 years of service. Employees in smaller establishments received fewer paid sick days, on average, than employees in establishments with 500 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 2019, 48 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 52 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 2019.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Private industry workers with sick leave benefits received more days at larger establishments on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/private-industry-workers-with-sick-leave-benefits-received-more-days-at-larger-establishments.htm (visited August 04, 2020).

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