By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

During some of the most critical moments in their lives, D.C. residents won’t have to worry about sacrificing a paycheck in order to take care of themselves and family, as the District launched its Paid Family Leave program on July 1.

“After five years of working with advocates, businesses, the Department of Employment Services and my colleagues to put it in place, I am thrilled that D.C. workers can finally benefit from paid family leave,” said At-Large Council member Elissa Silverman (I), who also chairs the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.  “Paid leave ensures that District workers won’t have to choose between supporting their family members or bringing home a paycheck. For our lower-wage workers, for those managing a job and elder care, for businesses who want to treat their workers with dignity, this is a huge step toward making our city more equitable and just.”

The District launched its Paid Family Leave program on July 1. (Courtesy Photo)

“No longer will working families in D.C. be forced to make the difficult choice between earning a paycheck or caring for a new family member or ailing loved one,” said At-Large Council member David Grosso (I), who co-wrote the original legislation with Silverman in 2015.

The program, which is the sixth of its kind in the nation, offers eligible workers, employed by D.C. businesses, paid leave for up to eight weeks for parental leave, six weeks to care for sick family members and two weeks for personal medical reasons.

With the Paid Family Leave program, employee benefits will include wage replacement of up to $1,000 a week.

However, the benefits are not only for the employees.  Studies show that paid leave programs also help employers with employee retention.  In addition, paid leave programs provide more equality when choosing between large and small businesses as it is often challenging for smaller corporations to compensate employees when they are unable to work.

“Businesses across the District now have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining highly qualified employees with a progressive benefit that they can offer to every employee at a fraction of the cost of providing it themselves,” said Grosso.

Applications for the Paid Family Leave program opened on July 1.  For more information visit dcpaidfamilyleave.dc.gov.

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor