Publication Date



Evidence is mounting that providing workers with time off when they or their family members are ill reaps enormous benefits. Policymakers and businesses alike from across the country can see the advantages first-hand of paid sick time (also known as paid sick leave). Paid sick time may be a business-initiated workplace policy or an earned sick time public policy, which is a law that allows employees to earn paid time off at work. These policies enable workers to address health needs without putting their – or their families’ – economic security at risk. Employers that offer paid sick time know that these policies improve worker morale and productivity, attract talented employees, and reduce costly turnover. The benefits to public health and our larger economy also are clear: Paid sick time policies help prevent the spread of contagious illnesses to coworkers and customers, allow workers to get preventive care, and curb unnecessary and costly emergency room visits by allowing workers to seek medical attention during regular business hours. Sick workers can recover faster and get back on the job when they get the care and rest they need. Paid sick time is a basic building block of family economic security—and when families are strong, our entire economy benefits. The earned sick time policies enacted in cities and states across the country have been extremely successful and have garnered strong support from local businesses.


Suggested Citation
U.S. Department of Labor. (2015). Get the facts on paid sick time. Washington, D.C.: Author.