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Check out the latest news and updates from Councilmember Silverman.

Notice of Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Organizational Meeting - 1/24/2017

The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will convene its Organizational Meeting to consider and vote on the following measures:

  1. The “Rules of Organization and Procedure for the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development for Council Period 22 Resolution of 2017”; and
  2. The “Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Staff Appointment Resolution of 2017”.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 24, at 2pm in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building.  Draft copies of the agenda and measures are below.

Newsletter: A Call to Action, and Committee Open House Invitation!

Dear Resident,

This is a challenging week in the District of Columbia. We began by celebrating and learning from the uplift of Martin Luther King, Jr., and we will conclude with the inauguration of a President who many of us believe is unfit and unprepared for this immense task. The threat to working families and to basic progressive values is very real, and it will make our work at the state and municipal level even more important. You have my commitment to preserve and protect the truths we hold to be self-evident, that all women and men are created equal, that it is our diversity and inclusion that makes our country great, and that each resident should be given equal opportunity through public services including high-quality public education.

Newsletter: Paid Leave Passes in 2016! On to 2017!

Dear Resident,

Happy New Year! I want to wish you and your family a very joyous, healthy, and productive 2017. Thank you for your support these past two years.

Today, I joined my colleagues in swearing in one new member, Trayon White representing Ward 8; one returning member, Vincent Gray representing Ward 7; and four current members, Jack Evans representing Ward 2, Brandon Todd representing Ward 4, and at-large colleagues Robert White and David Grosso. Congratulations to all, and I look forward to working with them as the new chairman of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development! In the new Council period, I will also remain a member of the Committees on Finance and Revenue and Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization.

I think we all agree 2016 will be a year to remember! For many of us, national politics has been heart-wrenching, but I hope you feel that local politics has provided a hopeful path forward.

D.C. Council Supermajority Approves Universal Paid Family Leave in Final Vote

Today, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) voted with a majority of her D.C. Council colleagues to approve, on a second and final reading, the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016, which will create a family and personal medical leave program in the District of Columbia. The legislation passed by a vote of 9 to 4.

Under the final bill, the District will create a social insurance system that will provide up to eight weeks of annual paid leave to new parents for a birth or adoption, up to six weeks for District workers to care for a sick loved one, and up to two weeks for District workers in need of personal medical leave. Self-employed individuals may opt into the program. District government employees will remain under the D.C. government program; federal employees and District residents who work for employers outside of D.C. will not be covered by the bill.

“I am proud that the District engaged in a truly robust debate about how we can best help working families in our city,” said Silverman after the final vote. “Through this discussion, the Council put forth a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that will help us tackle one of our biggest challenges—ensuring that our city is a more equitable and fair place to live.”

Employer Mandate: Why It Disadvantages Small Businesses and Workers

The eleventh-hour “employer mandate” scheme offered as an alternative to the “Universal Paid Leave Act of 2016 (UPLA)” is risky and volatile for District businesses and workers. It is difficult to enforce, would shift costs from large businesses to small businesses and taxpayers, and would create incentives to discriminate against job applicants who are viewed as more likely to take paid leave.

Policy experts have testified that the employer mandate model is problematic. That is why the three states with paid leave programs—California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey—which serve tens of millions of residents and millions of businesses, have a public insurance model administered by the government. New York State, which is implementing paid leave now, also has a public insurance model.

The below facts can be downloaded here.

Councilmember Silverman Responds to Unvetted, Unfunded Paid Family Leave Alternative

At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman today released the following statement after Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced an amendment that would establish an employer mandate:

“The eleventh-hour employer mandate scheme presented this morning would make providing paid family leave financially impossible for all but the District’s largest businesses. It is a risky and volatile proposal, which has not been vetted in public debate.

It would get rid of the public insurance fund—a model currently used by three states providing paid leave to tens of millions of U.S. residents. It would also give most District businesses a small, unfunded employee tax credit that would not come close to financing parental, family, or personal medical leaves. While supporters of this amendment may claim that there will be no bureaucracy, businesses will still have to apply for “hardship petitions” that will be decided on a case-by-case basis, with details to be worked out in the future by the Mayor; and the city will have to ensure that businesses are complying with the program. In summary, it is uncertain how this proposal would work or be paid for.

The "Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016" that the Council voted to pass on December 6 has been reviewed, discussed, and debated for over fifteen months. A complete economic impact analysis has been conducted. This is not true for the employer mandate proposal. There is no economic impact analysis.  And as of this morning, there has been no bill presented and no fiscal impact statement issued.  I urge my colleagues to remain strong in support of a true paid leave program for the District’s workers.”

Newsletter: Holiday Party and Paid Leave Info! Important Reading!

Dear Resident,

Happy Holidays!

Next Tuesday is our last legislative meeting of the year and of this two-year Council period. This means that all legislative items—bills, resolutions, and emergencies—must be voted on by Dec. 20. After Tuesday, any outstanding legislative items must be reintroduced in the next Council period, which begins once our newly-elected Council members are sworn in on January 2.

Join Councilmember Silverman This Sunday for a Holiday Celebration!


We’re in the home stretch at the Wilson Building, with the end of Council Period 21 approaching on December 20. We’re working hard on Paid Family Leave and other issues, but it’s always important to take a break. So please join us at our holiday party at Compass Coffee in Chinatown (650 F Street NW) on Sunday, December 18, from 3:00–5:00 p.m. to enjoy some holiday cheer and support Toys for Tots!

We’ll provide the jelly donuts and holiday cookies (and maybe a game of spin the dreidel). This is our second year teaming up to support Toys for Tots with Compass Coffee’s Harrison Suarez and Michael Haft, who are both Marine veterans. All four Compass Coffee locations have boxes for Toys for Tots, and their fellow Marines will join us Sunday to collect the toys. All we need from you is to bring the cheer. We encourage you to bring one unwrapped child’s gift for our donation box if you can.

Please RSVP here so we know how many jelly donuts and cookies to bake!

Paid Family Leave Passes Overwhelmingly on First Vote! Second Vote Dec. 20!

Dear Resident,

We did it!

In case you missed the front-page story in yesterday’s Washington Post, the great reporting on WAMU, and coverage elsewhere: On Tuesday, by a remarkable 11-to-2 vote, the D.C. Council gave preliminary approval to the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016. Your efforts made the difference! This bill makes the District a national leader—again!—in championing working families by creating an insurance-based family and medical leave program that will be accessible to both full and part-time workers who work for private businesses and nonprofits in the District.

Councilmember Silverman Praises Passage of Precedent-Setting D.C. Paid Family Leave Program

Today, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I, At-Large) voted with an overwhelming majority of her colleagues on the D.C. Council to pass the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016, a historic bill making the District a national leader in championing working families by offering paid family and medical leave. The bill passed by a vote of 11 to 2.