Victory on Paid Family Leave!

After years of work from thousands of D.C. residents and dozens of community organizations, the fight to pass and protect Paid Family Leave has been won. As he first announced after being questioned by Paid Family Leave advocates at a candidate forum organized by DC Working Families last week, Council Chair Phil Mendelson has ended efforts to overhaul D.C.’s landmark paid family leave law.

D.C. Working Families has supported Paid Family Leave from the beginning, because the people who work in D.C. deserve the dignity to be able to take leave and care for our children, parents, loved ones, or themselves. Healthcare is a human right, and so is the ability to provide care for yourself and your family without risking your job or livelihood.

While this is a huge victory for Paid Family Leave, advocates and activists are staying engaged to work with Mayor Bowser to ensure that the program is implemented and rolled out effectively in the coming years.

More from the Washington Post:

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) this week announced he was dropping efforts to overhaul the city’s paid family leave law in a more business-friendly fashion, ending some of the uncertainty over a new government program that is among the most generous in the country.

During his first debate with progressive challenger Ed Lazere on Tuesday, Mendelson surprised other lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the issue when he said he would not move forward with bills designed to amend the program.

Paid leave advocates said his comments cleared the way for implementation of the law, although they want a firmer commitment that the law won’t be amended. Representatives of business groups vowed to continue pressing their case, suggesting Mendelson made his comments to assuage progressive activists during an election year.

In an interview, Mendelson said failed negotiations, not campaign politics, drove his decision.