Press Release: Labor and Workforce Development Committee Renews Commitment to Economic Equity in FY 2021 Budget Report
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2020 – Today, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development unanimously approved recommendations for the fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget put forth by Committee Chair Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large). The recommendations prioritize investing in high-demand industry training in healthcare, IT, and infrastructure; modernizing DC’s unemployment insurance system; creating employment opportunities for DC youth during the school year; and making sure a level playing field is enforced so DC workers get paid fairly. In total, the Committee recommends an increase of $1.5 million to the Department of Employment Services (DOES) budget from Mayor Bowser’s proposal to help DC recover from the economic crisis that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic and take on the challenge of truly addressing income inequality and racial inequity in the District of Columbia.
“With these recommendations, we are demonstrating our commitment to continue addressing racial injustice by making sure that our residents, particularly Black and Latino residents, benefit from their taxpayer dollars paid to the District government,” Silverman said. “Given the economic and racial inequities that many Black and Latino residents face, those communities will likely have a harder time recovering from the pandemic. We need to put the money and political will in place to help these households regain financial footing and to invest in the programs and capital infrastructure to move toward a more equitable and just city.”
Highlights of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development’s Report for the FY 2021 Budget include... [click to continue reading]
Investing in UI and Paid Leave Programs that Provide a True Safety Net for Residents
- $45 million to modernize the District’s Unemployment Insurance system, with a completion deadline of Sept. 30, 2022. The updated system needs to be compatible with mobile devices, function optimally with commonly used internet browsers (e.g., Google Chrome and Safari), and be user-friendly for non-English speakers and workers with disabilities
- $1.8 million to enforce anti-retaliation protections for workers in the Universal Paid Leave Act
- $750,000 to establish a new grant program that helps employers and workers navigate workplace leave laws.
Investing in Training that Connects More Residents to Living-Wage Careers
- $915,000 to establish a paid internship pilot program during the school year for 250 District high school students.
- $689,000 to establish a healthcare sector partnership and training program that will help District residents get living-wage jobs at hospitals, managed care organizations and other health-related businesses.
- $1.75 million for the Career Pathways Innovation Fund, which embeds reading and math skills in occupational skills training.
- $129,000 to create advisory committees focused on industry-and employer-informed training at DOES’ DC Infrastructure Academy, which will better help District residents find good jobs in high-demand fields, including those that need a Commercial Driver’s License and IT credentials.
Investing in Worker Protections
- $128,000 to hire an additional attorney at the Office of the Attorney General to combat wage theft.
- $100,000 to fund a public education campaign on tipped workers’ wage rights, which is required under the legislation that repealed Initiative 77.
Investing in and Respecting DC Government Workers
- Requires that collective bargaining rights be respected with up to $35 million being used first to honor two executed collective bargaining agreements covering 10,000 union workers, if funds in the budget become available.
- $150,000 to conduct a study on employment practices related to transgender and non-binary individuals in District government agencies.
Click here to read the Committee’s report in full. With approval, the Committee’s recommendations will now be considered by the full Council at the Committee of the Whole.
The Council will take its first vote on both the FY 2021 budget appropriations and accompanying legislative language on July 7, 2020.
About the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development: The Committee is charged with oversight over DC agencies that provide job training and promote job creation, particularly for workers with barriers to employment. The Committee is chaired by Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) and includes the following councilmembers among its members: Charles Allen (D- Ward 6), David Grosso (D-At-Large), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Robert White (D-At-Large).