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News from EPI DC paid leave bill is a step in the right direction

We applaud the DC Council for passing a strong and meaningful bill to extend paid family leave to District workers, and urge Mayor Bowser to support these efforts and sign the legislation. Paid family leave is an important component of family economic security, allowing workers to care for themselves and their families when they have a new child or when an illness strikes. Unfortunately, today, millions of families lack such protection. Only 13 percent of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave, and the incidence of that valuable safety net is far more likely among the well off than those with less. Only 4 percent of the lowest wage workers have paid family leave compared to 24 percent of the highest paid workers. Without federal action, it’s incumbent on cities and states to provide the safety net many working families need.

Figure A

High-wage workers are more likely to have paid family leave: Percent of private-industry workers with access to paid family leave, by wage group, March 2016

Category Share of workers who have access to paid sick days
Bottom 25% 6%
Second 25% 11%
Third 25% 14%
Top 25% 24%
Bottom 10% 4%
Top 10% 24%


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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employee Benefits Survey (BLS 2016, Table 32), reprinted from Gould 2016

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See more work by Elise Gould