Public Oversight Roundtable: Paid Family Leave
On Thursday, July 9, 2020, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), Chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a Public Oversight Roundtable on the Paid Family Leave program. The Roundtable aired on the DC Council channel and TV Channel 13, and an archived recording can be found here.
The Committee received presentations from both public witnesses and government witnesses from the Department of Employment Services (DOES).
The agenda, witness list, and witness testimonies are included below:
- Draft Agenda and Witness List
- DOES Testimony, Director Unique Morris-Hughes
- Blotner, Joanna: Jews for Justice, DC Paid Family Leave Coalition
- Brown, Laura: First Shift Justice Project
Here is a summary of the Report and Recommendations of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development for the FY2021:
Investing in High-Demand Industry Training that Leads to Living-Wage Careers
• Establish a healthcare sector partnership through the Workforce Investment Council to increase the number of District residents employed in the healthcare industry. The partnership will focus on jobs at the two new hospitals in the District that will be financed with taxpayer dollars during the financial plan. It will also focus on meeting the staffing needs of the hospitals, as well as the District’s managed care organizations, private insurers, and other healthcare providers. The partnership will heavily invest in employer engagement by creating a sector intermediary to connect business and training providers, and to help trainees moving directly into employment with partner employers.
• Create industry advisory committees to guide training at DOES’ DC Infrastructure Academy that will meet the needs of employers and help more District residents get living-wage jobs and stable careers in high-demand fields.
• Invest in training for healthcare careers for District residents through the Workforce Investment Council.
• Invest in training for Commercial Drivers Licenses and Information Technology at the DC Infrastructure Academy, and add an FTE to manage training.
• Continue and enhance funding a best-practice of helping low-literacy DC residents get jobs through integrated education and training, which has been a highly success approach to adult education and workforce development, through support of proposed funding at the Workforce Investment Council.
• Establish a paid internship pilot program in Spring 2021 for 250 District high school students to help them gain the skills and experience they need for future success.
• Require the Executive review options for the DC Infrastructure Academy to remain East of the Anacostia River and preferably within Ward 8 prior to expending funds for the design on 2500 Benning Road NE location.
Making the District’s Safety Net Work For Everyone
• Establish firm deadlines to modernize the Unemployment Insurance system capital project under DOES. Require that UI applications can be made on mobile devices including cell phones, that the claimant portal is compatible with all major internet browsers, and that the system will comport with the legal rights of all District workers, including non-English speakers and people with disabilities.
• Create a fair UI system so that workers without Wi-Fi or computer access can file claims and complaint forms.
• Fund enforcement of the Universal Paid Leave Act’s prohibition on retaliation against individuals exercising their rights through the Office of Human Rights.
• Establish a new grant program to fund businesses and worker organizations’ efforts to help employers and workers navigate the District’s workplace leave laws, including universal paid leave, family and medical leave, and paid sick time.
• Reform the Paid Leave Fund structure to clarify how administrative and enforcement money flows and ensure all needs will be funded in the future.
• Update the unemployment insurance shared work program law to be in line with U.S. Department of Labor model legislation, a program passed into law in 2010 but not implemented until 2020.
Keeping a Fair Playing Field by Investing in Labor Law Enforcement
• Invest in an additional attorney at the Office of the Attorney General to combat wage theft.
• Improve protections against wage theft that are already included in current law, which is the legislation that repealed Initiative 77.
• Fund a public education campaign on tipped workers’ wage rights, required under the legislation that repealed Initiative 77.
Investing in and Respecting DC government workers
• Respect District public servants’ collective bargaining rights by requiring that up to $35 million in revenues in excess of the April 2020 estimate are used first to honor two executed collective bargaining agreements, covering 10,000 workers.
• Conduct a study on the employment of and employment practices related to transgender and non-binary individuals in District government agencies.