How Does Your Sick Day Policy Compare?

January 7, 2007    

According to the Compensation Data annual survey of more than 5,300 employers, exempt employees have 8.4 sick days on average, while non-exempt average 7.6

Beginning as early as October and lasting until spring, flu season can wreak havoc on even the healthiest of families. But, how many sick days do most U.S. employees have? According to the Compensation Data annual survey of more than 5,300 employers, exempt employees have 8.4 sick days on average, while non-exempt average 7.6.

Across the United States, exempt employees in the Central region have the highest average number of sick days with 8.7. The Eastern and Southern states are close to the national average with 8.3 and 8.4 days. The lowest average, 7.9 sick days, is in the West.

Some industries provide more sick days to their employees than the national average. Government workers have an average of 11.8 days and are followed closely by utilities with 11.3. Not-for-profits round out the top three with 11.2.

The service industry has the lowest number of average sick days for exempt employees, 6.3. And, when compared to government workers, those in the service industry have 5.5 days less.  The manufacturing and technology industries are the second and third lowest with 6.6 and 6.4 sick days respectively.

“The number of sick days offered has changed only slightly since 2003,” said Amy Kaminski, manager of marketing programs for Compdata Surveys. “Many companies pool their time off into one formal Paid Time Off (PTO) package that includes sick days, as well as vacation and personal days. This provides their employees greater flexibility.”

Though most employees are offered time off, some prefer not to take advantage of this perk when they are sick. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports healthy adults are infectious one day before showing symptoms of the flu and five days after getting sick. They suggest those who are sick stay home from work, school and social gatherings to prevent the spread of disease.

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