D.C. Small Business Owner: Pass the Universal Paid Leave Act

By Ethel Taylor

When I opened my small business, it was the culmination of my lifetime aspiration. But, as with any small business owner, this freedom came with huge sacrifices. As a start-up neighborhood dog grooming business in Ward 4, I could not afford to offer my employees–or myself–some of the workplace benefits that other employees often enjoy, such as retirement options, vacation time and paid family and medical leave.

Just over a year ago, my husband and I received the news that he had stage-4 cancer. We have endured a lengthy recovery process that is still ongoing today. How would I maintain my business while taking care of my family? As with any business, some hard decisions had to be made. At one point, I went from six employees to one.

I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made and will make them time and time again if necessary. But, it was heartbreaking to see my business, which I had invested so much in, suffer.

It is for this reason that I so strongly support D.C’s Universal Paid Leave Act. This bill would establish an insurance pool available to anyone who works in D.C.–employees, small business owners, part-time workers, and contractors alike.

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