Washington, DC—Today the DC Council passed the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act 9 to 4, giving DC workers eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family leave and two weeks of medical leave. The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition and small business owners have been urging the Council and the Mayor to act on paid family leave for over a year. This program will provide coverage to over half a million working people.
Joanna Blotner, of Jews United for Justice and the Campaign Manager for the DC Paid Family Leave Coalition, hailed the Council’s passage of paid family and medical leave. Saying “We can all celebrate today. A little over a year ago, industry lobbyists and big business fought against the very idea that the District deserves paid leave, but today, the Council voted to create this vital program. We look forward to this bill becoming law and call on the Mayor to sign it as soon as possible.”
Today’s vote comes after over a year’s worth of hard work by working mothers, fathers, grandparents, adult children, siblings and more from across the District who tirelessly made the case for this vital program. Paid family leave will provide a critical lifeline to families who have struggled to make ends meet when faced with life’s biggest moments, be it having a child, serious illness, or caring for a loved one in need. This is a win for all eight wards and we can be proud that the Council took a stand today for working families and small businesses.” said Dyana Forester of UFCW Local 400.
“This is a victory for all working people in DC who will no longer have to choose between their jobs and taking care of their families,” said Jaime Contreras, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU, the union representing 17,000 property service workers in the DC Metro area. “Thanks to the actions of the Council, the District will be a healthier, happier place for everyone. Just ahead of the Holidays, Paid Family Leave will provide the best gift possible to thousands of residents who struggle to care for their loved ones.”
Working Families Party Senior Advisor Valerie Ervin applauded the Council’s vote saying, “We applaud the DC Council for finally taking action on this much-needed measure. It’s time for Washington, DC to join Rhode Island, New Jersey, and recently New York in offering paid family leave. We urge Mayor Bowser to make this a reality for DC workers and their family members. This bill is a chance for DC to stand up to the Republicans in Congress who refuse to act on paid leave at the federal level.”
Universal Paid Leave Amendment now heads to the DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s desk. The proposal is supported by 80% of District residents and, according to the extensive research prepared by the independent and nonpartisan Council’s Budget Office, will not harm the upward trajectory of DC’s economy. This is the first new social insurance program in the United States since 1965. Champions hail the current proposal as good a win-win for business and employees because it provides a major benefit without negatively affecting the economy.
The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition is a network of over 200 businesses, nonprofits and advocacy organizations. The full list of Paid Family Leave Coalition members is available at: www.dcpaidfamilyleave.org/coalition