Press Release
New State-by-State Fact Sheets Show That Workers, Families and the Economy Suffer Because the Nation Has Not Adopted a Paid Sick Days Standard

A new series of fact sheets released today by the National Partnership for Women & Families explore by state the impact of our nation’s failure to guarantee all workers the right to earn paid sick days. Today in the United States, nearly 40 percent of private sector workers are not able to earn a single paid sick day. The new fact sheets focus on the individuals and industries most affected, including children, restaurant workers and low-wage workers and their families. Taken together, they make a powerful case for paid sick days standards at the state and national levels.

“Our nation’s failure to establish a paid sick days standard is harming people across the country,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “It is absolutely unacceptable that so many hardworking people risk grave financial hardship if they or a family member get the flu, strep throat or another common illness, and that is because they cannot earn basic paid sick days, even after years at their jobs. Lawmakers at all levels, and especially in Congress, need to look closely at what is at stake for the country’s working families and its economy, and take action.”

Twenty-four jurisdictions across the country already have, or will soon have, laws in place that guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick time. For the nine states and the District of Columbia that have state or municipal paid sick days laws, the National Partnership summarized the laws in place and data on their effectiveness. For the 41 states that do not yet have a state or municipal law, the organization compiled the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and other sources on the size of the populations most likely affected by the lack of a paid sick days standard, including:

  • The number of private sector workers in the state who do not have paid sick days;
  • The number of people in the state who work in restaurants, an industry in which 90 percent of workers nationally cannot earn paid sick days;
  • The number of African American and Latino workers in the state (in the states with the largest populations of each) — these groups disproportionately lack access to paid sick days;
  • The largest industry in the state and the national rate of access to paid sick days among workers in that industry;
  • The overall percentage of jobs in the state that are considered low wage and among the least likely to offer paid sick days; and
  • The number of children in the state who live in families in which all parents work — parents with paid sick days often cannot use them to care for children.

Fact sheets for all states and the District of Columbia can be found in map form here.

Just last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data showing that, nationally, more than 43 million private sector workers — nearly 40 percent of the country’s workforce — cannot earn paid sick days. That number has remained largely unchanged in recent years, despite a growing body of evidence that shows paid sick days benefit families, businesses and economies; and despite the fact that 85 percent of voters say they want employers to provide paid sick time. The National Partnership fact sheets conclude that the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard of seven paid sick days per year, should be a high priority for Congress.

“State and national level data like these make it painfully clear that employers and lawmakers are not acting quickly enough to establish the paid sick days standards workers and families across the country urgently want and need,” Ness continued. “Access to paid sick days should not depend on where someone lives or what job they hold. The Healthy Families Act is a common sense proposal that has been tested in states and cities across the country. It is long past time for Congress to make its passage a priority.”

The National Partnership convenes a broad and diverse coalition that supports the Healthy Families Act. More information can be found at

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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