Number of sick days taken by U.S. adults in the past year as of 2017, by age

A recent Statista survey found that around 58 percent of those aged 18 to 30 years took up to five sick days in the previous year. The United States does not require businesses to provide employees with paid sick leave, however bigger businesses must offer unpaid leave for medical issues. Laws regarding sick leave do vary by state.

Paid sick leave in the U.S.

Among civilian workers in the United States who did have access to paid sick leave, the most common form of provision is being offered a fixed number of paid sick leave days per year. Just 4 percent of civilian workers with paid sick leave can take such leave as needed. It is estimated that only around 22 percent of workers in the U.S. use all or most of their paid sick days.

Health in the workplace

One danger of only offering a fixed number of sick days to employees is that sick employees will come to work even though they are sick. A survey from Statista found that 40 percent of adults in the U.S. stated they had gone to work when they were sick within the past year. In recent years companies have placed greater interest and investment in employee health and have begun offering more health benefits to employees. Such benefits are meant to improve employee health, decrease sick days, increase productivity and lead to an all around better working environment. Health benefits and offerings from companies can include employee health screenings, health education, discounts to gyms, and standing desks.

Number of sick leave days U.S. adults took last year as of 2017, by age

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Release date

February 2017


United States

Survey time period

February 16 to 27, 2017

Number of respondents

615 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Original question: How many days were you on sick leave last year? Please give your best guess if you are not sure. Leave the field blank if you prefer not to answer?
All respondents were full-time employees.
Respondents could choose whether to answer the open question or not.

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Statistics on "Workplace health and wellness in the U.S."

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