Published Date: July 11, 2023

Summary: While racial and ethnic disparities in unmet paid leave (or needing but not being able to take paid leave) are well documented, little evidence of the intersecting role of citizenship status exists. This study examined disparities in unmet paid leave across race, ethnicity and citizenship status. Analyzing 2021 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data for 12,485 employed adults, authors assessed disparities in unmet needed paid leave across race, ethnicity and citizenship status categories, including noncitizen, naturalized, and citizen Latinx and Asian respondents, and naturalized and noncitizen white respondents, relative to U.S.-born white respondents, controlling for demographic, familial, health-related and work-related covariates.

Findings: While 16.9% of employed Californians reported forgoing needed paid leave, disparities across race, ethnicity and citizenship status were evident. Specifically, 31.8% of noncitizen Latinx respondents, compared to 11% of U.S.-born white respondents, did not use paid leave when they needed it due to fear of job loss, fear of negative impacts on job advancement, employers denying it, lack of information or knowledge regarding the process or ineligibility. In the fully adjusted analyses, respondents identifying as noncitizen Latinx, naturalized Latinx, U.S.-born Latinx, noncitizen Asian, and naturalized Asian had a statistically significantly higher likelihood of experiencing unmet needed paid leave compared to U.S.-born white respondents.​

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