Sick leave around the world: how does the US stack up?

Countries like Yemen, Ethiopia, Mongolia and Afghanistan provide employees with paid sick leave, while India and Somalia don’t. Find out how the US stacks up

Sick leave around the world: how does the US stack up?
When it comes to paid sick leave entitlements, many European employees are doing better than their counterparts in the United States.

Here, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave, but companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act are required to provide unpaid sick leave. The act provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical situations for the employee or a member of their immediate family. Workers are eligible for unpaid sick leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 1,250 hours over 12 months.

Countries with no paid sick leave
United States
Sierra Leone
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Sick leave entitlement internationally
New Zealand
Most employees receive a minimum of five days’ paid sick leave per year after the first six months of continuous employment and an additional five days’ leave after each subsequent 12-month period. The leave can be used when the worker is sick or injured, or when their spouse or a dependent is sick.

Here, sick leave is deemed a type of personal leave under the National Employment Standards and full-time employees are entitled to 10 days’ paid personal leave per year. That includes sick leave and paid carer’s leave.
Part-time employees receive a pro-rata entitlement to sick leave, based on the number of hours they work. Paid personal leave accumulates from year to year. Different rules apply for workers covered by an award or an agreement.

United Kingdom
Workers may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, which is paid leave for up to 28 weeks. Companies can offer more leave under their own sick pay schemes, but they cannot offer less.

Public service employees are entitled to paid sick leave. Under the Canada Labour Code, federally-regulated employees are entitled to unpaid sick leave of up to 17 weeks if they have worked for the same employer for three months, during which time their job security is guaranteed. They must produce a medical certificate if requested by their employer. Some employees may be entitled to cash benefits under the Employment Insurance Act.

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