Narrowing the Paid Leave Divide (January 5, 2017)

By Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies

Being able to take time off when you’re sick or need to care for a new child or sick parent shouldn’t be a luxury enjoyed only by those who are financially well off. And yet while paid family and medical leave is standard for most white collar employees, low-wage U.S. workers who are most in need of such benefits are typically denied them.

Activists in Washington, D.C. recently overcame stiff opposition from corporate lobbyists to win one of the country’s most generous paid leave policies. The law guarantees eight weeks of paid time off for new parents, six weeks for those caring for sick family members, and two weeks of personal sick time.

Small businesses were key to this victory. The coalition behind the new law published a list of more than 80 business supporters and encouraged residents to patronize these local firms. One business leader who became very active in the fight is Ethel Taylor, the owner of a local pet grooming parlor called the Doggie Washerette.

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