What sick pay costs

In this Friday, Jan. 18 2013 photo, activists hold signs during a rally at New York's City Hall to call for immediate action on paid sick days legislation in light of the continued spread of the flu. An unusually early and vigorous fluseason is drawing attention to the cause that has both scored victories and hit roadblocks in recent years: mandatory paid sick leave. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Just in time for the potential vote in Philadelphia on paid sick days legislation is the monthly report from the U.S. Labor Department on compensation costs. Reading through the report makes it easy to see why restaurant workers and restaurant owners are lining up on opposite sides of this legislation.

For most private employees, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday, all paid leave amounts to 6.9 percent of compensation.

Obviously wages are the largest component of a workers' compensation package -- 70.3 percent for most private sector workers. Various benefits and mandates account for the rest. After wages, legally required benefits, such as Social Security payments, add up to 8.2 percent of wages. Health insurance is next at 7.7 percent and paid leave follows that. Paid leave includes vacation, holidays and sick pay. Of those, vacation costs were the most expensive at $1.03 an hour for the average employee. Sick pay was 25 cents per hour.

The cost of paid leave benefits tend to follow salary rates and they also vary by sector. Paid leave in the information industry, for example, runs $4.12 an hour, at 8.9 percent of total compensation. That's the highest. By contrast, paid leave in the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, is the lowest. It runs at 39 cents, or 3.1 percent of total average compensation.