FWI-SHRM Study: Most Employers Provide Paid Leave to Full-Time Employees


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Eve Tahmincioglu

Kate Kennedy

Fewer Organizations Provide Caregivers and Part Timers Paid Time Off

NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2015—Nearly all U.S. employers with 50 or more employees (99%) have some form of time off with pay for their full-time employees, according to national data released today by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The study—Paid Time Off, Vacations Sick Days and Short-Term Caregiving in the United States—also found that only about one-third of employers provide at least five days of paid leave for caregiving and roughly 25% provide paid leave to part-time employees.

The study is based on findings in the 2014 National Study of Employers. It found no significant differences between large employers and small employers (50 to 99 employees) in offering any of the three types of paid leave—sick days, vacation time, or general paid time off, known as PTO.

Overall, few employers offer their paid leave options to part-time employees—whether they are hourly (24%) or salaried (32%). Among employers with PTO programs, large employers were more likely to offer it to their part-time salaried and hourly employees than small employers.

“While most full-time employees have access to paid leave, the changing nature of work, where more individuals are working multiple jobs or are working part-time positions because they can’t find full-time work, can pose economic and work-life challenges for these employees,” said Kenneth Matos, senior director of research for FWI and author of the new report. He added, “We should rethink the kind of paid leave policies that part-time workers have.”

Mike Aitken, SHRM’s vice president of government affairs, said, “This study shows that paid leave is available to the vast majority of full-time employees. When employers control their own benefit offerings, there can be flexibility and creativity, which benefit both employers and employees.”

In terms of what type of paid leave is provided, vacation time was at the top of the list, provided by 58% of organizations. It was followed by sick days (52%) and PTO (41%).

It’s difficult to gauge whether the number of employers offering paid leave overall has changed since 2008 because the criteria from tracking such data has changed to include PTO, in addition to sick and vacation time. A growing number of employers are using the PTO designation, putting all paid leave in one PTO bucket and giving employees the choice of whether to use the time for vacation, illness or any other reason.


The 2014 National Study of Employers (NSE) surveyed a representative national sample of 1,051 for-profit (67% of the sample) and nonprofit employers (33% of the sample) with 50 or more employees by telephone interviews and web surveys (mode determined by respondent preference) with human resource directors. Representatives of Harris Interactive (now Nielsen Company) conducted the 48-minute phone interviews between September 13, 2013, and January 31, 2014. When analyzing data to make generalizations about the universe of organizations with 50 or more employees in the United States, the sample was weighted to the distribution of employers found in the D&B database, a close approximation of the distribution of employers of different sizes in the United States. The response rate for the study was 40%. The maximum sampling error (margin of error) for the study when describing the total sample is approximately 4%.

About Families and Work Institute

The Families and Work Institute (FWI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that studies the changing workforce, family and community. As a preeminent think tank, FWI is known for being ahead of the curve, identifying emerging issues, and then conducting rigorous research that often challenges common wisdom and provides insight and knowledge. As an action tank, FWI conducts numerous studies that put its research into action and then evaluates the results. Its purpose is to create research to live by. For more information, visit www.familiesandwork.org, like us on www.Facebook.com/FWINews and follow us on Twitter @FWINews.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.

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