“A child gets sick with the flu. A parent-teacher conference. Taking time to deal with domestic violence. These situations often require time away from work. But for many hard-working Washingtonians, taking time off carries the risk of losing a job or a paycheck.
Nationwide, nearly half of private sector workers in this country and three-fourths of low-wage workers do not have a single paid sick day. Ninety four million workers have no paid sick days or cannot use them to care for sick children. Our federal government provides its employees with paid sick days, but many workers in our nation’s Capital are left with no recourse when they are sick or a family member needs care.
We are here today to encourage the DC City Council to change that by passing Paid Sick & Safe Days legislation. On behalf of a broad coalition that includes women’s groups, employee groups and organizations dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, we thank D.C. Councilmembers Phil Mendelson (At-Large), Harry Thomas, Jr. (Ward 5), Marion Barry (Ward 8), Kwame Brown (At-Large), Mary Cheh (Ward 3), and Jim Graham (Ward 1) for introducing this bill. The bill has nearly unanimous support from the City Council, with the co-sponsorship of Vincent Gray (Council Chair) and Councilmembers David Catania (At-Large), Jack Evans (Ward 2 and Chair Pro Tem), and Tommy Wells (Ward 6).
Paid sick and safe days are good for employees and for employers. Working women and men need real solutions so they never have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their family. We can’t afford not to implement measures like these. Paid sick days will allow pregnant women take time away from work to get important prenatal care. They allow victims of domestic violence to take needed time off to ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones. And paid sick and safe days give parents the opportunity to participate in parent-teacher conferences, which have a beneficial impact on children’s performance in school.
When Paid Sick & Safe Days becomes law, hard-working Washingtonians will no longer have to choose between a paycheck and recovery. It is time to put family values to work here in our nation’s Capital and pass Paid Sick & Safe Days legislation.”