Taking a sick day is one of the most vital ways to recover when you’re feeling under the weather. And when you can rest assured knowing you won’t miss a day’s worth of pay, that peace of mind means everything.

Today, many employers in the U.S. aren’t required to give their employees time off when they’re ill, and more than 40 percent of workers in the private sector lack access to this important protection. In fact, only Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon—and now California—have some kind of paid sick time on the books.

If a workplace really wants to create a culture centered around trust, loyalty, and work-life balance, providing people with paid sick leave is a must. And most Americans agree. A poll from the University of Chicago found that 77 percent of people believe it’s a “very important” benefit, with the majority calling paid sick leave a basic human right. Allowing people to stay home when they’re sick doesn’t just improve the quality of life for employees and their families — it also gives businesses the chance to show they really care about their workers.

We had a hunch that most employers already provided this level of care and support for their teams. To see where our customers fit in, we combed through the anonymous time off policies from Gusto’s nationwide user data set. The results were encouraging, if not entirely surprising:

Nationwide, we’re doing pretty well

As a whole, Gusto companies across the U.S. offer their workers paid sick leave. Their employees receive an average of 3.7 sick days a year.

Smaller companies are blazing trails

Businesses with 1-5 employees offer the most sick days: 3.5 days a year on average. Our smallest customers also provide the highest amount of paid vacation days.

Winter months are the most sniffly

Most sick days are used right in the thick of flu season, during the months of December, November, and February.

Just because it’s not required doesn’t mean employers don’t offer it

Vermont, Louisiana, and Alabama hand out the most paid sick time, even though none of these states mandate it: 6.7, 6.5, and 5.4 days a year, respectively.


Sick days aren’t just a free pass to get out of work, but rather, a meaningful way to protect countless people across the country. Until national policies reflect that belief, we’re here to make sure our customers can provide whatever paid sick time they’re comfortable offering. Because when people are given the right to recuperate when they’re sick, the relationship between employees and employers gets that much stronger.

Colin Roper Colin Roper is a former Product Manager at Gusto, where he worked on building innovative products that customers love.
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