Rural-Urban Differences in Workers' Access to Paid Sick Leave.

Document Type


Publication Date



rural, access, employees, sick leave, healthcare, insurance, MRHRC

Publication Title

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved


Paid sick leave (PSL) is associated with health care access and health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of PSL as a public health strategy, yet PSL is not guaranteed in the United States. Rural workers may have more limited PSL, but research on rural PSL has been limited. We estimated unadjusted and adjusted PSL prevalence among rural versus urban workers and identified characteristics of rural workers with lower PSL access using the 2014–2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. We found rural workers had lower access to PSL than urban workers, even after adjusting for worker and employment characteristics. Paid sick leave access was lowest among rural workers who were Hispanic, lacked employer-sponsored insurance, and reported poorer health status. Lower rural access to PSL poses a threat to the health and health care access of rural workers and has implications for the COVID-19 public health emergency and beyond. [Journal Abstract]


For more information on this study, please contact Dr. Ziller,

Funding Organization

HRSA-Federal Office of Rural Health Policy