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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