For Immediate Release – September 12, 2014
Contact: Greta Bergstrom, Greta@TakeActionMinnesota.org, 651.336.67222
Those Least Able to Afford Unpaid Sick Time Off, Lack Access Including 41% of Minnesota Workers
St. Paul, MN – TakeAction Minnesota and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a new statewide analysis on Friday, detailing access rates to earned sick time leave across the state of Minnesota. The new report, which can be downloaded here, breaks down data by gender, race and ethnicity, occupation, hours worked and earnings level. Overall, the report concludes that 41% of Minnesota workers lack access to even a single day of earned sick time off.
On the morning tele-conference briefing with reporters and policymakers, Jessica Milli, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, reviewed key findings from the statewide analysis. Milli said, “This data indicates that Minnesota workers who are least able to lose pay when they are sick are also the least likely to have employer-provided earned sick days. Earned sick time gives workers the ability to seek health services or stay home with sick children or other family members, helping reduce the spread of illness in schools and workplaces. It provides more economic security for families across the board, but most especially for those struggling in lower-wage and part-time jobs.”
The analysis found that while 59% of all workers in Minnesota currently have access to earned sick time benefits, access is not uniformly distributed across populations. Key findings include:
- 41%, just over 1.1 million Minnesota workers lack access to earned sick time benefits including a full 40% of private-sector workers (only 18% of public-sector workers lack access);
- 60% of Latino workers in the state lack access to earned sick time benefits, significantly less likely than workers in any other racial/ethnic group, followed by 47% of African-American workers who lack access;
- Access to earned sick time varies substantially by occupation, with 71% of those in full-time positions having access while only 26% of those working part-time having access to earned sick time benefits;
- Service workers in particular are least likely to have access to earned sick time benefits, with only 35% having access. This includes food service and hospitality workers who work in close contact with the public;
- 80% of full-time workers in the highest earnings brackets, making over $65,000 annually, have access while only 34% of full-time workers in the lowest earnings brackets, making $15,000 or less, have access to earned sick time benefits.
Greta Bergstrom, Communications Director for TakeAction Minnesota, believes the state of Minnesota can improve the economic security of families by instituting earned sick time policies that ensure that all workers have the opportunity to earn time off to care for themselves, a sick child or a loved one. “Workplace policies haven’t kept up with the realities of 21st century Minnesota families. People shouldn’t have to choose between being a good parent and being a responsible employee earning a paycheck. Having access to earned sick time gives individuals the ability to take care of their own health or the health of a loved one by using the time they have earned working hard every day.”
The report, developed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, details access rates for individuals 18 years and older, living in Minnesota regardless of their work. Data was culled from the 2010-2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2012 IPUMS American Community Survey (ACS).
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TakeAction Minnesota is a statewide people’s network of individual and organizational members working collaboratively to raise the voices of Minnesotans in their own communities to advance social, racial and economic justice. The organization has offices in St. Paul, Duluth and Grand Rapids.