Hispanic and Food Service Workers among the Least Likely to Have Paid Sick Days in San Jose

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A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that 35 percent of San Jose’s private sector employees lack access to a single paid sick day. More than half (52 percent) of Hispanic workers in San Jose lack access to this important benefit.

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Washington, DC—A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that 35 percent of San Jose’s private sector employees lack access to a single paid sick day. More than half (52 percent) of Hispanic workers in San Jose lack access to this important benefit.

Paid sick days access in San Jose varies widely by occupation and is especially uncommon in jobs that require frequent contact with the public. In San Jose, 78 percent of workers in the city’s Food Preparation and Serving Related occupations, and 75 percent of workers in Personal Care and Service occupations—which includes child care workers—lack access to paid sick days, compared with 12 percent of workers in Computer and Mathematical occupations.

“Paid sick days are an inexpensive, effective tool for promoting public health,” said Barbara Gault, IWPR Vice President and Executive Director. “Paid sick days give workers the ability to seek health services or stay home with sick children or other family members, helping reduce the spread of illness.”

Previous research shows that about half of all workers who are covered by paid sick days plans do not take any days off for illness or injury in a given year. When used, however, this earned time allows workers and their families to obtain health care more promptly, leading to improved health outcomes, speedier recoveries, and a more productive workforce.

An IWPR evaluation on the impact of the paid sick days ordinance in nearby San Francisco found that two-thirds of employers surveyed after the law’s implementation were supportive of the measure. Following implementation, another IWPR analysis found that job growth in San Francisco exceeded that of its surrounding counties.

Several other U.S. cities have passed paid sick days laws, including New York City; Washington, DC; Portland, Oregon; Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey; and Seattle, and available research shows little evidence of negative impacts on employment or local businesses.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

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