D.C. City Council Has a Chance to Show ‘Exceptional Leadership in Supporting Working Families’ By Passing New Paid Leave Proposal

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The paid family and medical leave bill introduced in the D.C. City Council for the first time today is a strong proposal aimed at ending the days when thousands of people in the District are living just one accident, illness or new child away from financial devastation. By creating a paid family and medical leave insurance program that would make paid leave accessible to virtually everyone, the proposal would establish a much-needed standard that would have a tremendously positive impact on the city’s workers and their families, businesses of all sizes, and the local economy. This is an exciting day.

The Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 is an important opportunity for the D.C. City Council to further the District’s commitment to advancing family friendly workplace policies while demonstrating exceptional leadership in supporting working families. The District established the nation’s second paid sick days law in 2008. Like workers in several other jurisdictions, workers in the District have had access to more weeks of unpaid leave than is required by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act since before it became law. Just last year, the city and three states were awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to study the feasibility of creating paid leave programs. And shortly after that, District officials took action to guarantee city employees paid family leave. These developments, along with the tireless efforts of advocates and lawmakers, have helped pave the way for a citywide standard.

The National Partnership commends the D.C. Paid Family Leave Coalition for its work to make today possible, along with Councilmember David Grosso, Councilmember Elissa Silverman and the councilmembers who joined them to co-introduce this bill. A growing body of evidence from the three states that have put similar programs in place – California, New Jersey and Rhode Island – shows that these programs work well and that paid leave has widespread benefits. The District will be better off when this bill becomes law.”

About the National Partnership

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

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