"I sometimes imagine how my life would be different if my mom had the option of paid family leave," Travis said. The District of Columbia resident was born prematurely. Because his mother could not get the time off from work to make necessary hospital visits to care for her fragile son, "She had to give me up to be raised in Florida by other family members." Travis and his fellow District residents may no longer face those wrenching choices, thanks to the Universal Paid Leave Act, a proposed paid-leave law that will be formally introduced tomorrow in the D.C. City Council (9:30a at Wilson Bldg). Among the most progressive of such paid-leave laws in the nation, the employer-paid leave program includes 11 weeks of gender equal parental leave, eight weeks of paid family caregiving leave and up to 90% pay replacement for low-income workers on leave. "Most D.C. families can't afford to take unpaid leave," said Jackie Jeter, president of the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO, which worked with a coalition of paid-leave advocates to shepherd the bill through the legislative process over the past year. The D.C. Paid Family Leave Coalition said it was "extremely pleased to see the council affirm the need for paid family leave and move toward creating a program that works for everyone," but called for strengthening the bill. Read more here: DC Considers Cutting-Edge Paid Family Leave Law AFL-CIO blog post, plus press releases by the Metro Washington Council, DC Jobs with Justice, NNU and UFCW 400
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