US Sick Pay Mandates and their Impact on Coverage Rates, Labor Costs, Wages and Employment

Award Year


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


This research project proposes to empirically evaluate the impact of sick pay mandates on coverage rates, labor costs, wages, and employment in the US. The US is one of the very few industrialized countries without universal access to paid sick leave. Sick leave coverage allows employees to take sick leave due to own sickness or sickness of their child. 35% of full-time employees in the US lack coverage for paid sick leave (Susser and Ziebarth, 2017). Among low-income and part-time employees, more than 80% lack access to paid sick leave. Connecticut was the first state to pass a sick pay bill at the state level, effective 2012. California (2015), Massachusetts (2015), Oregon (2016), Vermont (2017) and Illinois (2017) have followed. Observers expect this trend to continue throughout the next years. The US sick leave mandates allow employees to earn one hour of individualized sick leave credit per 30-40 hours worked. These hours accumulate up to (typically) seven days per year and roll over to the next calendar year if unused. This research proposal intends to collect labor market data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS) and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) to estimate the impact of state level sick pay mandates on coverage, labor costs, wages, and employment. Methodologically, the proposal intends to use Difference-in-Differences (DD) and Synthetic Control Group Methods (SCGM).