Lack of paid sick days deprives workers of funds needed for basic necessities: Selected average monthly expenditures and their unpaid sick days equivalent, 2015

Category Monthly expenditure Unpaid sick days equivalent
Housing $1,257 13.1
Shelter $717 7.5
Utilities, fuels, and public services $302 3.1
Electricity $117 1.2
Telephone services $105 1.1
Clothing $96 1.0
Food $435 4.5
Groceries $263 2.7
Fruits and vegetables $49 0.5
Health care $313 3.3
Health insurance $222 2.3
Prescriptions and medications $33 0.3
Transportation $685 7.1
Gasoline and motor oil $167 1.7
Vehicle insurance $70 0.7

Notes: The first column is a selected list of household expenditures. The second column displays the average monthly household expenditures on this selected set of goods for a household earning between $40,000 and $49,999 per year, the range in which a household with two adults working full time at $12 per hour would fall ($12 per hour x 2 adults x 2,080 hours = $49,920). The third column illustrates the number of unpaid sick days that could put each expenditure at risk. For example, in a two-adult household, if one adult needs to take off 3 days in a given month due to an illness, the lost wages are more than the household’s entire grocery budget ($263).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey (U.S. DOL/BLS 2017)

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