Most Americans Support Paid Sick Days, Parental Leave

Huffington Post: Healthy Living

A majority of Americans think employers should be required to pay for sick leave and time off for new parents, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll.

Seventy percent say companies should be compelled to offer paid sick leave to employees, while 67 percent favor paid maternity leave, and 55 percent support paid paternity leave, the poll found.
About 40 percent of private-sector workers, many in lower-wage industries, aren't guaranteed paid sick days, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. President Barack Obama has urged employers to offer the benefits voluntarily and has asked Congress and state legislatures to pass legislation requiring paid leave.

Lawmakers' opinions on the benefits diverge largely on partisan lines. Americans in general, however, are more supportive.

The poll found a majority of Republicans and Democrats support requiring paid sick leave, although Democrats are 31 percentage points more likely to do so. There were similar partisan gaps on maternity leave and paternity leave.


Chart created using Datawrapper


Women are 14 percentage points more likely to support paid sick leave than men, 15 points more likely to support maternity leave, and 9 points more likely to back paternity leave. Those with children under age 18 are slightly more likely than those without kids to back all three policies.

The divide in opinion on sick leave and maternity leave has remained relatively unchanged since HuffPost last asked about the issue in June 2013. Paternity leave, however, has gained some currency, with support now 8 percentage points higher than it was in the earlier poll.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.
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