For Immediate Release
Contact: Joanna Blotner, DC Paid Family Leave Campaign Manager
Joanna@DCPaidFamilyLeave.org or 202-427-2376
For a more comprehensive breakdown of the bill, click here.
DC Paid Family Leave Coalition Response To Revised Universal Paid Leave Act
Bill affirms need for progressive family leave, but eliminates crucial medical leave coverage
Washington, D.C. -- Earlier today, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson released key details to the press of a new version of the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 -- details shared in advance of tomorrow's release of the full legislation -- which will be voted on this coming Tuesday, December 6. The statement below is from Joanna Blotner, DC Paid Family Leave Campaign Manager, on behalf of the campaign's steering committee:
“The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition commends our Council leaders’ efforts towards achieving a universal paid leave system that provides a higher pay replacement for D.C.’s most vulnerable workers. However, District leaders can and must do better. The revised bill only covers parental and family caregiver leave, while completely eliminating coverage for medical leave. By allowing a person to take paid leave when his elderly father broke his leg, yet denying coverage if his own leg was broken, the bill undermines a key purpose of universal paid leave -- to protect individuals who experience health crises from economic distress. Similarly, if a woman with breast cancer could not take paid medical leave to receive treatment, but her spouse could take paid family leave to care for her, the family -- especially if it is a low-income family -- is still going to struggle. The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition also notes bill’s definition of ‘family’ should be widened to include siblings and chosen family.
Chairman Mendelson’s revised bill provides 11 weeks of leave for new parents and eight weeks of leave for family caregivers, at a progressive rate of pay that provides 90% pay replacement for anyone earning up to 1.5 times the minimum wage; Higher income earners will still receive 50% of their wages on top of the initial 90% pay up to a cap of $1,000/week. The program would be funded through a 0.62% payroll tax, a significantly lower tax rate than the 1% originally proposed.
At a time when the Affordable Care Act is under threat, and medical emergencies are the leading cause of bankruptcy, families going through health struggles especially need basic benefits like paid leave that promote self sufficiency. The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition calls on Chairman Mendelson and the DC Council to provide a complete benefits package to employers and employees like. We urge the Council and the Bowser Administration to work together to ensure that the Universal Paid Leave Act is amended to serve the real needs of our residents and level the playing field for our businesses.”
The DC Paid Family Leave Campaign is anchored by the AFL-CIO Metro Council, DC Appleseed, Jews United for Justice, SEIU 32BJ, and UFCW Local 400. The coalition is made up of nearly 200 business, community organizations, and advocacy institutions united together in their effort to pass the Universal Paid Leave Act. The full list of Paid Family Leave Coalition members is available at: www.dcpaidfamilyleave.org/coalition