STATEMENT: D.C. Paid Family Leave Bill Would Provide Economic Security to District Families, Says CAP’s Sarah Jane Glynn

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sarah Jane Glynn, Director of Women’s Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement after the Council of the District of Columbia introduced a landmark bill for paid family and medical leave insurance:

Nearly every worker will experience a caregiving dilemma at some point in their working lives, whether to care for an aging or ailing parent, to welcome a newborn baby or adopted child, or to tend to their own illness. Despite the prevalence of these caregiving challenges, only 12 percent of all private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers. As a result, many workers are forced to choose between their paycheck or even the security of their jobs and caring for a sick loved one. This is particularly true for low-income workers, who are significantly less likely to have access to work-family policies such as paid family leave.

The bill introduced today by the D.C. Council would provide much needed economic security to working families in the District of Columbia, and this legislation should serve as a model to states and municipalities looking to develop their own paid family and medical leave insurance programs. However, to ensure that every family—regardless of ZIP code or income level—has access to these critical programs, Congress must act to pass federal paid family and medical leave legislation.

Fast facts on paid family leave:

  • Only 12 percent of private-sector workers in the United States have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have access to medical leave through job-provided short-term disability insurance.
  • The United States is the only advanced economy that does not provide paid maternity leave to working mothers and one of only a handful that does not guarantee the right to paid leave for fathers or workers who are providing care for seriously ill family members.
  • California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have implemented paid family leave, and a number of other states are exploring their options as well. The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced $1.55 million in grants to states and municipalities in order to study how to create paid family leave programs.

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For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at or 202.478.5328.