Skip to Content

These Types of Workers Are More Likely to Get Paid Sick Leave

Rhinitis WomanRhinitis Woman
This year's flu is bad. Really bad.Photograph by Media for Medical UIG — Getty Images

Feeling ill? If you’re in a white-collar profession or a government employee, you have a good chance of getting paid sick leave.

A worker’s access to sick leave greatly depends on their income, a new Labor Department report found.

The study found that the top 25% of earners in the private sector—those who make $28.60 per hour or more—84% had access to paid sick leave. Comparatively, only 39% of those who work in the bottom quarter—those who make $12 per hour or less— had access to paid sick leave. Moreover, 98% of full-time employees and 43% of part-time workers in state and local government receive paid sick leave.

Those who work in a white-collar profession are most likely to receive paid sick leave, compared to their counterparts in lower-paying fields, the report found. In March, for example, 89% of business and financial managers received paid sick leave, as did 75% of office and administrative employees. But only 42% of non-professional services workers were entitled to paid sick leave, and less than half of those who work in construction or agriculture-related fields received paid sick days.

And if you work full-time, your chances for paid sick leave are greater than those who work part-time, at 75% and 30%, respectively.


Access to paid sick leave has been garnering more attention in recent years, especially after President Obama signed an executive order last year requiring federal contractors to offer paid sick days to their employees. Some have even argued that guaranteed paid sick days could boost U.S job growth. As paid sick days and other forms of leave reduce average hours by 2%, it could open the door for 2.8 million more workers to be hired.

And in some cities, such as Los Angeles, workers are now getting twice the amount of sick leave. In April, the Los Angeles City Council voted overwhelmingly to require all employers in the second-biggest U.S. city to offer workers at least six days of paid sick leave a year, which is twice the mandatory minimum under California labor law.