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DC Expands Paid Sick Day Bill

December 17, 2013

DC has successfully expanded their paid sick days law to include tipped workers, as well as allowing accrual of paid time to begin immediately. In 2008 DC passed the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act and it was a huge step forward for workers in the city. However, the Act had many exemptions and left out roughly 20,000 tipped restaurant and bar workers. With this expansion to the Act all workers will be able to take time off when they need it the most without having to worry about losing a day’s pay. Debra Ness, President of National Partnership for Women & Families, put out a statement describing the big win for the DC campaign:

“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.”

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 17, 2013 —

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