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Sick Day Entitlement Survey

April 5 2008 - The latest survey of sick days in the U.S. found that time off policies are continuing to evolve with a number of states and cities exploring mandatory paid sick leave.

Policies vary from state to state but the Benefits USA 2007/2008 survey of more than 5,400 benefit plans conducted by Compdata Surveys found that U.S. employers offer an average of 8.4 sick days for exempt workers and 7.6 days for non-exempt.

Two municipalities, Washington D.C. and San Francisco currently mandate paid sick leave. Washington D.C. has a number of exemptions including:

  • employees who have been at their jobs for less than a year
  • employees who have worked less than 1,000 hours in total for their current employer
  • waiters and bartenders

California has recently introduced a bill to guarantee paid sick days for all workers. The bill is modeled on San Fransisco legislation and would allow employees to accrue a minimum of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Other states exploring mandatory paid sick leave include:

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Minnesota
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • Alaska

Amy Kaminski, manager of marketing programs for Compdata Surveys said

"In particular, small organizations should be aware of pending sick day legislation for their cities and states. While most large companies have sick day policies in place, smaller organizations are less likely to, as they are often more vulnerable to unplanned absences. "

The survey also showed that 57.2% of organizations allowed employees to carry over sick days although 70% placed a cap on how many days could be carried over. As well as time off for personal illness, 16.7% of surveyed organizations granted leave for family illness with an average maximum of 43.7 days.


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