Women, Minorities Face Sick-Day Gap


Women and people of color don’t just make less than white men on average — according to a new report, they’re also less likely to have paid sick days.

Jeannette Mulvey of Business News Daily reports on data issued by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, showing that while 67% of Asian-American workers and 60% of white ones have paid sick days, only 56% of black workers and 42% of Hispanic ones do. Among white employees, 61% of men have sick days, compared to 59% of women. Interestingly, this is reversed among black and Hispanic workers — in these groups women are more likely to have paid sick leave. Eric Rodriguez of La Raza explains why the inequalities are a problem: “For many workers, including the majority of Latinos, taking a day off to attend to a sick child could mean losing their job.”

Sick leave is something we all think about with respect to our own jobs, but it doesn’t always come up in discussions of the wage gap and other socioeconomic issues. But as C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network tells Business News Daily, “Access to paid sick days is a racial justice issue.” If female, black, and Hispanic workers are more likely to get fired they or their family members fall ill, their job security will never match that of white men — nor will their socioeconomic status. The IWPR report is a reminder that economic equality isn’t just about pay — it’s also about making sure that people can meet their health and family needs without jeopardizing their employment. Until that’s true for all groups, we still have work to do.

Access To Paid Sick Days Varies By Race, Gender [Business News Daily]

Image via Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

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