Latinos in the United States are the least likely workers to have paid sick time compared with all other racial and ethnic groups across the country, according to a new study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and reported by Voxxi.

Nationwide surveys show that only 47 percent of Latino employees have access to paid sick days, compared with 64 percent of white workers, 62 percent of African Americans and 66 percent of Asian-American employees.

Lack of paid sick time is most common among Latinos who work in low-income fields that often deal directly with the public, such as food preparation/serving (24 percent) and personal care occupations (31 percent).

These paycheck-to-paycheck employees rarely take time off when they are ill, which puts the entire U.S. population at an increased risk for spreading and contracting germs and illnesses, according to the Public Welfare Foundation.

Evidence also suggests that having workers come in when they are sick may actually cost a company more than giving paid time off. Not only are ill workers less productive, but they also run the risk of infecting other employees, which may cause an influx of workers who need time off all at once.

Studies show that paid sick days also decrease the amount of mental stress put on workers, which ultimately improves their overall job performance.

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