New Poll: Young People Need Paid Sick Days Too

by | Nov 2, 2011 | Paid Sick Days

Demos and Young Invincibles released a timely new report today on the barriers to economic success facing young adults in the United States. According to the report, one challenge is little access to job-protected, paid time away from work to use to recover from illness and care for a sick family member.

The report, The State of Young America, includes results from a survey of young adults, ages 18 to 34, that show that fewer than three in 10 of those polled reported having paid sick days they can use for themselves, a child and an immediate family member. Fewer than one in four women, and fewer than one in six Latinos said they have this basic right.

Like the 44 million workers across the country who don’t have paid sick days, young adults without paid sick days were more likely to report having gone to work when sick. According to the survey, for more than half, not being able to afford to lose pay was the top reason for doing so; fear of losing their jobs was also a factor for a significant share.

Overall, the report paints a stark picture of young America. Unemployment and underemployment are rising, the cost of living and student debt are increasing, and wages are declining. In an environment like this, not having basic workplace supports like paid sick days can easily push young adults and their families into financial crisis.

It’s no surprise then that only 22 percent of those young adults polled said they think their generation will be better off than their parents, and 30 percent said they are delaying starting families because of the economy. To begin to change direction, the report recommends a good jobs agenda that recognizes work and family obligations. One of its recommendations is to implement family friendly policies like paid family leave to help the young adult generation care for its children and elders.

It’s time for national policies, like a paid sick days standard and paid family and medical leave, that will enable young adults — and all workers — to provide for themselves and their families, and help build a stronger future for the country as a whole.

Read the full report here: