Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 134–140 | Cite as

Workers not Paid for Sick Leave after Implementation of the New York City Paid Sick Leave Law

  • Gerod Sharper Hall
  • Sarah Walters
  • Christopher Wimer
  • Amber Levanon Seligson
  • Matthew Maury
  • Jane Waldfogel
  • L. Hannah Gould
  • Sungwoo Lim


This study examined factors associated with being paid for sick leave after implementation of the New York City (NYC) paid sick leave law. A random sample of NYC residents was surveyed by telephone multiple times over a 2-year period. Participants (n = 1195) reported socio-demographics, awareness of the law, income, work hours per week, and payment for sick time off work. In the year after implementation of the law, part-time workers were significantly more likely to attend work while sick than full-time workers (relative risk = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.1, 1.4). Seventy percent of workers who missed work due to illness (n = 249) were paid for sick leave. Part-time workers, respondents not aware of the benefit (30% of workers), and workers without a college degree were the least likely to be paid for sick days. More than one third (37%) of persons not paid for sick leave worked in retail, food service, or health care. Although 70% of respondents were paid for sick leave after implementation of the law, part-time workers and workers with low education were least likely to access the benefit and more likely to work while sick. The disparity in paid sick leave may have public health consequences as many persons not paid for sick leave had occupations that carry a high risk of disease transmission to others.


Paid sick leave Part-time work 



We gratefully acknowledge support for this research from the Robin Hood Foundation. We also thank the Columbia Population Research Center, which is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P2CHD058486.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerod Sharper Hall
    • 1
  • Sarah Walters
    • 1
  • Christopher Wimer
    • 2
  • Amber Levanon Seligson
    • 1
  • Matthew Maury
    • 2
  • Jane Waldfogel
    • 2
  • L. Hannah Gould
    • 1
  • Sungwoo Lim
    • 1
  1. 1.New York City Department of Health and Mental HygieneLong Island CityUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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