On Paid-Leave Benefits, “Vacations, holidays, and personal leave: access, quantity, costs, and trends”

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Program Perspectives, Issue 2, February 2009

It is common for U.S. employers to offer paid leave to their workers in forms such as holidays, vacations, sick leave, and personal leave. Employers typically incur substantial costs in doing so. As of early 2008, State and local government workers averaged 11 holidays per year while workers in private- sector establishments averaged 8 days. Paid-leave costs were higher for government employers than for employers in private industry, both in number of dollars and as a percentage of total compensation. In March 2008, the average cost per hour worked for paid leave in the public sector was $3.12, which accounted for 8.2 percent of total compensation. The cost per hour in the private sector was $1.80, which accounted for 6.7 percent of total compensation.

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