At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman released the statement below in response to an amendment proposed today by Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May and Mayor Muriel Bowser. The amendment comes one day before a historic vote to pass a comprehensive paid leave program in the District.
“I look forward to passing a true paid family and medical leave program for the District tomorrow. The amendment proposed by Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May, which I understand was drafted over the last couple of days with the support of Mayor Bowser, IS NOT a paid family and medical leave program and is not a viable alternative.
The Office of the Budget Director of the Council of the District of Columbia released an Economic and Policy Impact Statement on the “Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016” that offers the Council an evidence-based resource for weighing a piece of legislation’s policy implications and economic costs and benefits. It is divided into four sections:
- A review of paid leave programs’ impacts on labor markets, the business climate, and health, based on empirical evidence from more than 170 peer-reviewed studies.
- A detailed benchmarking analysis of paid leave programs in other states.
- An assessment of District-based employees’ current access to paid and unpaid leave.
- An economic analysis of the legislation’s projected impact on the DC economy using REMI, a widely used economic forecasting model.
Paid leave will increase women’s participation in the labor force and reduce the gender wage gap.
- Currently, women in the District are 9% less likely than men to be in the workforce and women who do work are paid on average $8,474 less per year than their male counterparts.
- 11 weeks of guaranteed paid parental leave is estimated to boost women’s participation in the workforce by about 7%-8%. This will be good for the economy and reduce their reliance on public benefits, both during and after the leave.
- Women’s access to paid leave in California was linked to a 7 percent higher hourly wage after childbirth.
On Tuesday, December 6th, the DC Council will consider and vote on legislation to create a paid family and parental leave program for District residents and workers. The bill would establish an insurance fund that would pay benefits for qualifying events including the birth or adoption of a child and the need to care for a seriously ill family member.
The United States is the only industrialized country without some type of paid leave, though California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York have state programs. The District government, as well as some private employers, offer paid leave, but the vast majority of District employers do not. The initial bill was introduced in October of 2015. Since then, the Council has held three public hearings, released a discussion draft, and received input from the business community, members of the public, and paid leave advocates. Below is a breakdown of the updated proposal.
Big news! Later today, Chairman Mendelson will release a revised version of the paid family leave bill that my colleagues and I will vote on next Tuesday. It’s been more than a year since this bill was first introduced last October by myself and Councilmember David Grosso (I-At-Large), along with five of our colleagues. Over these 14 months, I’ve spent time meeting with a variety of residents, businesses large and small, national policy experts and others—as well as listening to testimony over the course of three hearings—to incorporate concerns and recommendations to develop a strong, precedent-setting bill. I look forward to casting my “yes” vote for a bill that is good for our families and good for our economy. I want to thank Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Grosso, my colleagues and all those who have contributed to this robust discussion.
What’s in this revised bill?
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman released the following statement in preparation for next week’s vote by the D.C. Council on Paid Family Leave:
“I am excited to cast my vote in favor of paid family leave next week. I want to thank Chairman Mendelson for the deliberative and thoughtful process the bill has gone through, including more than a year of consideration incorporating input from residents, from businesses large and small, and from national experts. This bill will be a benefit to our entire city. Stressful life events good or bad—like welcoming a new child or handling a grave illness in a worker’s family--should not turn into a double whammy of financial hardship that can have devastating ripple effects.
The Chairman’s proposal gives needed help to parents and family members that will help their employers as well, but it does not include personal medical leave. Other states include this in their paid family leave programs. For example, the Chairman’s bill excludes help to the retail worker who told me in a hearing that she had to quit her job to make radiation and chemotherapy treatments. She should have the financial stability to make the best medical decision she can to take care of herself and her family. I look forward to working with the Chairman, my co-introducer, Councilmember David Grosso, and our colleagues to include personal medical leave in our family leave program.”
Admittedly, I am still stunned about the election outcome November 8. I am very concerned about the impact of a Trump presidency on our country and on the District of Columbia; I will write more about that in the next newsletter. Given the cataclysmic results nationally, it was easy to overlook the local results. However, there was good news in D.C. elections; I was excited to see overwhelming voter support for D.C. Statehood. I also want to congratulate Robert White (D-At-Large), David Grosso (I-At-Large), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), Vince Gray (D-Ward 7), and Trayon White (D-Ward 8) on winning four-year terms. Our fight for statehood doesn’t end with this month’s election results. I look forward to working with my new and returning colleagues to continue fighting for equal representation and ensuring that everyone—and I truly mean everyone—knows that they are welcome and protected in our city.
Thanksgiving also brings us closer to the end of Council Period 21, which concludes on December 20. There are two more Council legislative meetings left to push some of my policy priorities over the finish line—including paid family leave—so keep reading for a preview of what’s coming up in my office and how you can help!
You may access and download testimony from this hearing in two parts:
In stressful times—and this week certainly qualifies as one for many of us—it’s important to get back to basics: good nutrition, sleep, and EXERCISE. So I hope you'll join me and a few Council colleagues, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Capital Bikeshare for a fall bike ride on the new Kenilworth section of the Anacostia River Trail TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 11, at 11:00 a.m. We’ll meet up at the Bikeshare station at 19th Street SE and East Capitol Street SE (near the Stadium-Armory Metro stop)! Bikeshare has agreed to waive user fees for anyone who wants to use a Bikeshare bike for the ride.
You may download a copy of this testimony here.
Schedule Instability and Unpredictability and Worker and Family Health and Wellbeing
Testimony to the Washington, DC City Council