Half of hourly workers in the US service sector don’t have access to paid sick leave, with availability most restricted at companies including Dollar General, Cracker Barrel, Texas Roadhouse and Dairy Queen.
(Bloomberg) — Half of hourly workers in the US service sector don’t have access to paid sick leave, with availability most restricted at companies including Dollar General, Cracker Barrel, Texas Roadhouse and Dairy Queen.
A survey of service workers conducted by the Harvard Shift Project found that access to sick leave is essentially unchanged from before the pandemic. In 2017, 49% of workers reported access to paid sick leave, while 51% had it this year, the Harvard report found.
The study also found that gains in sick leave during Covid-19 were limited and short-lived, with 16% of workers saying their access to it had expanded in spring of 2020. But by fall of the same year, only 6% reported greater access.
Access to leave varies widely. More than 90% of hourly workers at Stop & Shop, Costco and Home Depot can take paid sick leave, for example, while that percentage is below 20% at Dollar General.
In 2022, Dollar General became the first major retailer deemed a “severe violator” of federal workplace safety law, and has failed hundreds of government inspections. In addition to limited access to sick leave, most Dollar General employees make less than $12 an hour, and close to 1 in 4 make less than $10, according to an Economic Policy Institute study from 2021.
Dollar General didn’t respond to a request for comment on Harvard’s findings at the time of publication.
Read More: Working at Dollar General Is So Awful Even Investors Are Worried
Service sector workers across the board are more often in precarious financial situations and unable to take time off work without pay. White-collar workers and other well-paid employees are the most likely to receive paid sick leave, with 95% of the highest-income quartile reporting paid sick leave benefits. In contrast, only 58% of the lowest-income quartile has access to paid sick leave, the study found.
Fourteen states, Washington, DC, and 20 counties and municipalities require paid sick leave by law, according to the study. Many chains only provide leave where it’s required and many workers that do have it face barriers to taking it. These include fears of workplace repercussion and challenges finding a replacement to cover shifts.
–With assistance from Brendan Case.
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