National Partnership for Women & Families

Strengthening Paid Sick Days Law Would Help D.C. Workers, Improve Public Health and Support Local Economy, Ness Says, Urging Mayor to Sign Bill

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 17, 2013 —

“By voting unanimously to strengthen D.C.’s paid sick days law to cover more workers, the D.C. City Council has shown its commitment to making the District more family friendly, supporting local businesses, and strengthening the economy. This is a good day for the District and Mayor Gray can make it even better by signing the bill into law right away.

The Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act would amend the District’s existing 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. It 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, but it left 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 to protect their own health and the health of their families and communities, without sacrificing their financial security.

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 skilled and 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 that built throughout the country this year. We look forward to adding this victory for D.C.’s working families to the list.”

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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