On October 6, the Washington, DC City Council introduced what will be the nation’s strongest bill for family and medical leave insurance (FMLI) if passed. Supporters attended the city council meeting, wearing t-shirts that read: Our families come first. To a packed chamber of cheering activists – the youngest of which were in diapers – bill sponsor, Councilmember Grosso, described how the proposed law “will make the District of Columbia a city that people will want to work and live in and will give all of our businesses a competitive edge for offering progressive benefits packages at a lower cost than they can now.” The bill already has majority support among the Council.
Washington DC’s legislation came fewer than two weeks after sponsors introduced a FMLI bill in Wisconsin. Keep Families First coalition members joined the bill sponsors at a press event to highlight the need for and benefits of such a fund. “It is time for the United States to catch up with the rest of the world and provide access to paid leave to care for a new or an ill family member,” said Wisconsin 9to5 director Martha De La Rosa. The measure would also strengthen the state FMLA by allowing care for a broader range of family members, lowering the threshold requiring employer participation from 50 employees to 25, and increasing the number of weeks available for leave to 12.