Inequality in Benefits: Low-Wage Workers Have Little Access to Paid Leave

Source: Nick Buffie, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) blog, December 16, 2015

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a short report on wage inequality in the U.S. It gave detailed breakdowns of earnings by gender, age, education, state of residence, industry, and occupation.

The report also included data on access to leave benefits along the wage distribution. In general, high-wage workers have greater access to these benefits than low-wage workers.

We can break the various types of leave into three separate categories. First, there is unpaid family leave, which allows employees to take time off work to care for sick family members or newborns. Access to unpaid family leave is nearly universal: about 86 percent of all workers — and even 75 percent of low-wage workers — can take unpaid family leave…..