BLS report shows 90 percent of wage and salary workers had access to some form of employee leave in 2011
According to a report prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 90 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid or unpaid leave at their main jobs in 2011. The BLS also reports that 21 percent of wage and salary workers took paid or unpaid leave during an average week and that those workers took an average of 15.6 hours. The report also noted that 56 percent of wage and salary workers, who would have otherwise had to have taken leave or who had no access to leave, were able to adjust their work schedules or location.
These findings are from a supplementary set of questions asked as part of the 2011 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), a continuous household survey that estimates how people spend their time. The data regarding leave were collected as part of the 2011 Leave Module sponsored by the DOL’s Women’s Bureau and were collected directly from wage and salary workers. The data thus represent only workers’ knowledge on these topics.
The BLS found that on average, 59 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid leave, while 77 percent had access to unpaid leave; 7 percent did not know whether they had leave. Overall, 90 percent of American workers had access to some kind of employee leave. Gender played little role in which workers had access to leave, with 90 percent of male and 91 percent of female workers having access.
The report also analyzed the kinds of leave available to workers in various industries. Workers in management, business, and financial operations jobs were the most likely to have access to paid leave (77 percent) and 76 percent of workers in the public sector had access to paid leave, compared with 57 percent of private-sector workers. The report indicates that workers holding only one job were more than 3 times as likely to have access to paid leave than were part-time workers (71 percent compared with 22 percent).
In 2011, 21 percent of wage and salary workers took paid or unpaid leave during an average week and those workers took an average of 15.6 hours of leave. Women (23 percent) were slightly more likely than men (20 percent) to take leave from their jobs during an average week. Of those wage and salary workers who took leave from their main jobs during an average week, 57 percent used only paid leave and 40 percent used only unpaid leave. Three percent of these workers used a combination of paid and unpaid leave.
The data also showed that 56 percent of wage and salary workers were able to adjust their work schedules or location of their main jobs instead of taking time off from work in 2011. Among wage and salary workers age 25 and over, 61 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were able to adjust their work schedules or location instead of taking time off from work, compared with only 38 percent of workers with less than a high school diploma.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said that the DOL is “looking forward to engaging in an in-depth analysis of the survey results.”