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REPORT: Immigrant Workers Less Likely to Receive Paid Sick Leave

July 10, 2014

Immigrants working low-wage jobs are less likely than their native-born counterparts to have access to paid sick days, according to a report (pdf) published jointly by CLASP and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

Paid sick days were available to less than half (47 percent) of immigrant workers earning between $15,000 and $34,999 a year. Meanwhile, 64 percent of native-born workers in the same income range are able to take paid sick days.

Further down the income scale, 26 percent of immigrants earning less than $15,000 a year had access to paid sick days, compared with 36 percent of native-born workers in that salary range.

PHI research shows that 24 percent of direct-care workers in the U.S. are foreign-born, and the average salary for a direct-care worker was approximately $17,000 in 2013.

An IWPR report published earlier this year showed that personal care and service workers, an employment category that includes personal care aides, are among the occupations that are least likely to have paid sick leave.

Growing Support for Sick Leave

Connecticut is the only state that mandates paid sick time for workers, although seven major U.S. cities — including New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC — have passed paid-sick-leave laws on their own in recent years.

Support for a federal paid-sick-leave bill has bipartisan support from registered voters, the report points out.

“Workers, including those who have moved to the United States and who help fuel its economic engine, shouldn’t have to choose between their health (or their families’ health) and their jobs,” the authors argue.

— by Matthew Ozga

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