It’s a good day for D.C. Today, the City Council voted unanimously to strengthen the District’s paid sick days law to cover more workers — a move that will help D.C. workers and their families, support local businesses and strengthen the economy. Mayor Gray should sign the bill into law right away.
The Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act would amend the District’s existing paid sick days law to enable tipped restaurant and bar workers to earn up to five paid sick days per year. These workers had been excluded from the law, despite obvious harmful consequences for public health. According to a 2011 survey of more than 500 D.C. restaurant workers, 59 percent say they have gone to work sick.
The bill will also allow all workers to accrue paid sick days immediately, and begin using them after 90 days on the job, eliminating the requirement that they be at a job for one year and 1,000 hours.
We learned this summer that D.C.’s paid sick days law has been a big success in increasing the number of people with paid sick days in the District, but it still leaves too many workers behind, unable to earn the paid sick time they need. The bill the Council advanced today would fix that, allowing an additional 20,000 workers to earn the paid sick days they need.
It is also great news for the District that the Council passed an overdue increase in the minimum wage. This is a major victory for low-wage workers in one of the country’s most expensive places to live. We urge the Council to prioritize an increase in the tipped minimum wage, which is urgently needed as well.
We commend the dedicated Paid Sick Days for All coalition and all Council members who are committed to realizing the full promise of the District’s paid sick days law. Today’s action adds to the momentum for paid sick days and other family friendly policies we have seen throughout the country this year. We look forward to adding this victory for D.C.’s working families to the list.