AAUW Issues: Paid Sick Days

The American Association of University Women is committed to promoting economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. AAUW works toward greater availability and access to a high standard of benefits and policies that promote work-life balance, including accrued Paid Sick Days.


For the 44 million Americans without paid sick days, a decision to stay home to care for a sick child or family member could jeopardize their job or family income.  AAUW has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. Without sick days, employees often come to work ill, decreasing productivity and infecting coworkers.

Impact on Working Americans

About 40 percent of private sector employees do not have paid sick days. Low-wage workers are especially hard hit, with 70 percent receiving no paid sick days. These low-wage workers often must go to work sick and contagious in industries that endanger public health such as food service.

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Good for Employers and Employees

CDC guidance urges employers that regardless of the size of their business or services provided they should encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs.

Offering workers the option of taking time off when they or a family member is sick is not just good for families, it’s good for business. The success of San Francisco’s paid sick days ordinance demonstrates how viable paid sick days can be for business and employees: six out of every seven employers in San Francisco did not report negative profitability effects.

Women Disproportionately Impacted

Additional Resources

Download Printable Quick Facts on Paid Sick Days

More than 22 million working women do not have paid sick days, and as a result, more than half of working mothers report that they must miss work and often go without pay when caring for a sick child.  Women disproportionately bear the economic opportunity cost of taking children or elderly family members to the doctor.  Yet, many women, delay seeking health care because they cannot take time off work impacting their ability as employees and primary caregivers.

Healthy Families Act

AAUW supports legislation such as the Healthy Families Act, which will provide seven accrued paid sick days for full-time employees and a pro-rated number for part-time employees, and provisions that provide paid parental leave for all employees, including those working for the federal government.

State Legislation

Many states are considering paid sick days legislation and ballot initiatives similar to the Healthy Families Act (visit www.paidsickdays.org to see where).