National Partnership for Women & Families

Passage of D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Act an ‘Important Step Forward’

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 6, 2016 —

“Today, the D.C. Council passed out of the Committee of the Whole a paid leave program the city’s workers need and deserve – a program that will help the District of Columbia’s businesses thrive. We are especially pleased that the Council amended the Universal Paid Leave Act to include personal medical leave, recognizing that whether workers are caring for a new child, a seriously ill family member or are seriously ill themselves, they need time away from work without jeopardizing their ability to cover their basic expenses.

What the Council passed today will provide much-needed paid leave for new parents and family caregivers, offering essential support to the District’s workers and the children and other family members who rely on them – and it will cover the personal medical leave workers need when serious health issues arise. The District’s law will make paid leave affordable for all workers. It is also a first, both in terms of setting up a new paid family and medical leave program and in recognizing the particular challenges facing lower-wage workers.

When this bill becomes law, paid leave will no longer be a privilege reserved largely for professional white-collar workers in the District. The city’s workers and their families, businesses of all sizes and the local economy will benefit as the District of Columbia becomes a more family friendly place that recognizes the paramount importance of economic security for all families.

We commend Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmembers Elissa Silverman and David Grosso for their leadership, and the D.C. Paid Family Leave Coalition for its highly effective work to make today possible. We look forward to the Council passing this bill, and urge Mayor Muriel Bowser to sign it. We all deserve decent jobs with decent benefits. This is an important step forward for the city.”

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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