More Workers Have Access To Paid Leave

F.J. Thomas

Washington, D.C. ( – The government has released a study on paid leave from supplemental data that was gathered in the American Time Use Survey. It seems more American workers have access to paid leave.

In 2011, 60 percent of workers had access to paid leave. The survey reported that on average, 66 percent of workers in 2017 to 2018 had access to paid leave. Of all workers surveyed, 78 percent had access to unpaid leave while 9 percent were unsure of their leave benefits.

Women had the largest increase in leave benefits, with 7 percent. In 2011, 58 percent of women workers had access to paid leave but by 2017 the total had risen to 65 percent. Men only had a 5 percent increase with 62 percent in 2011, up to 67 percent by 2018.

High wage earners were more likely to have paid leave than workers with a lower salary. Of the top 25 percent earners, 86 percent had access to paid leave. Only 57 percent of those in lower income brackets had the same benefit.

Trends in paid leave appeared to be industry specific. Those workers in management, business, and finance were the most likely to have paid leave at 82 percent, followed by maintenance and installation at 79 percent, and other professions at 76 percent. Service and construction industries had the least amount of paid leave at 43 percent for service jobs, and 36 percent for construction occupations.

During an average work week, 21 percent of workers took advantage of their level benefits with 13.7 hours taken.

Vacation was the highest reason for taking leave at 6 percent, followed by 5 percent for medical issues or illness, and personal reasons at 4 percent.

On an average month, 10 percent of women who needed to take leave did not take advantage of their benefits. Illness or medical care was cited as the largest reason for the needed leave at 42 percent. In comparison, only 7 percent of men did not take leave, and 42 percent cited personal reasons as to why they needed to take leave.

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