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Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, National Poll Shows Strong Universal Popularity of Earned Sick Leave Laws

78% of Americans support guaranteed, paid sick leave for U.S. workers

May 18, 2020

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, National Poll Shows Strong Universal Popularity of Earned Sick Leave Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C.CityHealth released new poll results today showing that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor guaranteed paid sick leave laws for U.S. workers. The poll, fielded by NP Strategy Group in April 2020, shows that 78% of Americans support the policy, and that this support holds regardless of party affiliation, gender, age, and location.

Earned sick leave laws require employers to allow people to take paid time off for illness or injury for themselves or their family members. Evidence shows these policies reduce the spread of contagious illnesses, increase employment and income stability, protect businesses, and save localities money in health care costs.

“Having strong earned sick leave laws in place has never been more important,” said Shelley Hearne, DrPH, president of CityHealth and a pandemic expert. “As policymakers search for ways to protect working families from COVID-19, they should support workers’ ability to stay home when sick as a first line of defense, because experts know it works to stop the spread of disease.

“The American people know it’s simply common sense to give employees the ability to stay home when they’re sick. This allows workers to continue to pay for basic items like rent, while ensuring they don’t put their coworkers and employers at risk by spreading infection. This policy is essential to ensure the health and safety of all Americans. We are all better protected when sick people can stay home.”

 The results of the poll are summarized below. Access the full results.

Question: Do you favor or oppose a law that guarantees paid sick leave?


  • Agree: 78%
  • Oppose: 8%
  • I’m not sure/No opinion: 15%

(Note: percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.)

Breakdown of Respondents Who Agree

By Party Affiliation

  • Democrat Net 88%
  • Republican Net 68%
  • Independent Net 71%

By Gender

  • Male: 76%
  • Female: 80%

By Age

  • 18-24: 76%
  • 25-34: 84%
  • 35-44: 85%
  • 45-54: 76%
  • 55-64: 78%
  • 65+: 67%

By Location Type

  • Urban: 80%
  • Suburban: 77%
  • Rural: 75%

By Region

  • Midwest: 77%
  • Northeast: 70%
  • South: 82%
  • West: 78%

Methodology: Responses were collected from NP Strategy’s monthly omnibus survey. 1,005 respondents answered these survey questions in April 2020. The group is nationally representative by age, gender, and region.

CityHealth works to advance a package of proven policy solutions that will help millions of people live longer, better lives in vibrant, prosperous communities. CityHealth regularly evaluates cities on the number and strength of their policies. The views expressed by CityHealth do not necessarily reflect the views of the project funders. Learn more at

NP Strategy Group is a public affairs firm that helps organizations plan, communicate, and succeed through the use of data, creativity, and experience. Learn more at

CONTACT: Liz Voyles, 202-297-9641,