What We Did
Labor and Workforce Development Committee
Council Period 24 -- 2021 and 2022
Helped hundreds of residents navigate the complex unemployment insurance process.
Agency oversight and constituent services
Expanded paid family & medical leave for private sector workers, while cutting the employer tax in half.
Called for a reevaluation of the Universal Paid Leave Act’s finances through the 2022 budget process
Expanded leave for District government workers and added medical leave for the first time.
B24-615, the District Government Paid Leave Enhancement Amendment Act of 2022
Created and funded career training programs to respond to worker and employer needs in nursing, IT, and commercial driving.
DC Nurse Education Enhancement Amendment Act, IT Community Training and Advisory Board Establishment Act, DC Infrastructure Academy Commercial Driver’s License Mass Transportation Pipeline Pilot Program Amendment Act, and 2021 & 2022 budget processes
Created & expanded a paid internship program for 1,000 high school students per year.
School Year Internship Program, through the 2021, 2022 and 2023 budget processes
Moved legislation to treat domestic workers as they should: the same as all other workers.
B24-712 Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022
Ensured workers are not penalized for legally using cannabis in their personal time.
L24-190, The Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022
Supported workers and businesses hurt by the pandemic, including gig and other “excluded” workers; essential workers; and hospitality businesses.
2021 and 2022 budget processes
Banned non-compete agreements that stifle workers’ ability to change jobs or take on second jobs.
L24-175 - Non-Compete Conflict of Interest Clarification Amendment Act of 2021
Council Period 24 Activity Report in the Labor and Workforce Development Committee
At the end of each Council period, the Labor and Workforce Development Committee releases a report of its activities during the past two-years. The Council Period 24 report was released November 21, 2022.
During Council Period 24, the Committee focused its work on lifting the economic security of District workers in both the public and private sectors. This included work to enact new workers’ rights, analyze efficiency of programs serving workers such as unemployment insurance to make improvements, and ensuring that government agencies serving District government workers were providing good, equitable services to our public servants. The Committee also focused efforts on helping workers and businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating economic impacts, including massive job loss.
The Committee passed legislation on permanent and emergency bases, conducted rigorous oversight of agency operations, and funded promising programs. The Committee focused much of its work on one of the largest and most important agencies in District government, the Department of Employment Services, which provides services ranging from job training to unemployment insurance to enforcement of wage-and-hour laws. The Committee also reviewed the Mayor’s budget proposals in 2021 and 2022 to ensure that agency needs were met and that promising programs had appropriate resources.
The top laws and bills advanced by the Committee along with other priority work during Council Period 24 include:
- B24-712 Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022, which, as passed by the Committee, puts domestic workers, who have been historically excluded from worker protection laws, on equal footing with other workers in the District, by requiring employers of domestic workers to execute a written contract with the worker, providing for education of workers and employers, and updating the District’s Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against domestic workers.
- The Committee addressed individual and systemic problems with the District’s unemployment insurance (UI) program through rigorous oversight, legislation, and the budget process. The Committee conducted oversight via multiple hearings with the public and DOES; sent several oversight letters to DOES; investigated problems with overtime payments to DOES staff; took every opportunity to track and encourage speedy progress on the modernization of the UI benefits application system; assisted hundreds of individual constituents with their UI claims; and passed legislation to ensure Council offices could continue to receive necessary information about UI claims and the program overall. The Committee also allocated and increased funding to help UI claimants, including by paying for instructional videos to help claimants, additional compensation for claimants who waited longest for benefits, and eliminated District taxation of UI benefits for District residents.
- The Committee expanded and made permanent the school year internship program for District high schoolers, which it had created in the prior Council period. The District has long had a large summer work program; with this new program, created by the Committee, following two ramp-up years, the FY2023 program will provide paid internships to 1,000 students.
- Expansion of paid family and medical leave for both private and public sector workers. For the private sector, the Committee utilized the FY2022 budget process to call for a reevaluation of the Universal Paid Leave Act’s finances. This resulted in a finding that the revenues could support expansion of the program to up to 12 weeks of leave per year for medical, family, or parental leave, and the leave was made available as of Oct. 1, 2022. For District government public sector workers, the Committee passed new legislation, B24-615, the District Government Paid Leave Enhancement Amendment Act of 2022, to expand the current 8 weeks of family and parental leave to 12 weeks of leave; newly establish 12 weeks of medical leave; and consolidate leave bank programs into one new bank to provide more paid leave for workers’ medical needs.
- L24-175 - Non-Compete Conflict of Interest Clarification Amendment Act of 2021 (an update to the Committee’s work on B23-494, Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2019), which together ban the use of non-compete provisions in employment agreements and workplace policies for most District workers.
- L24-190, The Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022, which addresses the disconnect between the District’s legalization of cannabis and its employment laws and provides rules of the road at the workplace for both workers and businesses. The bill ensures workers in both the public and private sectors aren’t fired or disciplined just for using cannabis off the clock by prohibiting employers from taking adverse actions against employees just for that reason.