FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
D.C. Becomes Second City in U.S. to Guarantee Paid Sick Days
Thousands of District Workers Will Benefit
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President,
National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — March 4, 2008 — “Today is an historic day for thousands of working families in our nation’s capital, who for the first time will be guaranteed paid sick days. We join workers across the District in celebrating passage of the Accrued Paid Sick and Safe Days Act of 2007, and applaud the Council for passing this measure which is a great first step in giving paid sick days to all District workers who need them.
The District is the second municipality, after San Francisco, to guarantee workers paid time away from work to treat an illness or care for a sick child. It surely will not be the last.
Until now, more than 200,000 workers in the District did not have paid sick time. The majority of them work in low-wage food service, retail and construction. Providing paid sick and safe days to those working some of our most grueling jobs is the right thing to do and benefits the whole community.
In addition to paid sick days, workers in the District are now also guaranteed paid “safe” days, so those dealing with domestic abuse can take time off for violence-related court appearances or other services. This measure is compassionate and long overdue.
We are, however, disappointed that this new measure has a hardship exemption and excludes some food service workers and workers in the first year of their jobs.
The new law will provide seven paid sick and safe days for workers in firms with 100 employees or more, five days for firms with 25-99 employees, and three days for firms with 24 or fewer employees. The District Council has taken a significant step forward. This is a good day for workers here.”
To visit the Online Rally for Healthy Families, go to www.EveryoneGetsSick.org .
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight to pass the Family & Medical Leave Act. It is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.