We are thrilled that the DC City Council passed a comprehensive paid family and medical leave bill which will guarantee about 530,000 workers the ability to take the time they need to care for themselves and their loved ones without falling into financial hardship. We are further delighted that the majority of the council members defeated the eleventh hour attempt by corporate lobbyists to waylay the bill. This win would not have been possible without the hard work of the DC Paid Leave Campaign, a broad and diverse group of organizations, businesses and residents with a common goal of passing a measure that benefits people across the District. All the coalitions in the Family Values @ Work congratulate our DC partners for this impressive victory.
Today’s victory comes after more than a year of hard work by the coalition and leaders at the City Council who believe no one should ever have to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one and putting food on the table. Once implemented, DC workers -including both mothers and fathers, adoptive and foster parents – will be eligible for eight weeks of paid parental leave, six weeks to provide care for a seriously ill family member, and two weeks of personal medical leave, a provision that had been hotly contested in earlier drafts of the bill. We also want to applaud the City Council for including the best model to date of wage replacement, guaranteeing 90 percent of wages for people earning up to 150 percent of minimum wage.
While DC is showing true leadership by passing such a bill, it is important to note that the eight weeks proposed for parental leave falls short of the 12 weeks recommended by doctors to be sufficient to care for infants during this critical time in their lives. It is also important to address the bill’s inadequate length of time for caring for a personal health condition.
Business leaders, council members and workers alike agree that paid leave results in stronger businesses, a stronger economy, stronger families and improved public health. This bill will take great strides in making DC a better place to work for workers across the region. We commend DC, especially Councilmembers Silverman and Grosso and Chairman Mendelson, for their leadership and look forward to more paid leave victories across the country in 2017.