The disparities are profound: A 2021 report from the Economic Policy Institute showed that two-thirds of workers in low-wage jobs didn’t have access to paid sick days even during the pandemic; a 2022 report from the Center for American Progress detailed that 37% of Black women who need leave don’t take it, and many have to go on leave without pay.
Huckelbridge outlines various kinds of paid leave, including paid time off, bereavement, vacation, and sick leave; but what Paid Leave for All generally means, she says, is paid time off to care for yourself, a new child, or a loved one dealing with a serious health condition. This underscores that no one should be haggling for paid time off amid the many moving pieces and needs that make up a life.
How do you know what kinds of leave you have?
Sturman says there are questions to consider about the leave policies at your job: “What sort of notice or permission do you need for taking vacation or sick days? Who do you need to ask? Who needs to approve it? How far in advance do you need to ask for vacation time?” This should be spelled out in an employee handbook, Sturman adds.
And especially for employees new to the workforce, paying attention to leave details is crucial, such as differences between sick leave, vacation, and holidays, and how leave fits into a larger benefits package. “In short, don’t just assume that the company is going to be generous and help you out when you are sick or need a break,” Sturman says. With many hourly jobs, there is no paid time off, he says. “When faced with costs for rent, food, student loans, and so forth, many people simply can’t afford to take what might