Gurgles, giggles, and coos filled the halls of the John A. Wilson District Building Thursday morning as a handful of mothers, mothers-to-be, and infants associated with the grassroots organization MomsRising circulated City Hall delivering signed petitions and stories in support of the DC Universal Paid Leave Act, which will see its first of three hearings on Dec. 2.
The bill, which was introduced in October, would give all Washington, D.C. residents and those employed in the district up to 16 weeks of paid family and medical leave every 24 months for qualifying life events, including a new child, serious health conditions, or caring for an ailing family member.
To fund the bill, nonfederal employers would be required to contribute to a new tax for a family and medical leave fund managed by the city. Federal government employees or residents working outside of the city would contribute to the fund based on their annual income. Freelancers would have the option to opt out of contributing.
While the Act is sponsored by seven Council members and has received support from the Obama administration, the group expressed hope that their petitions and personal stories could reach the other council members who have not yet taken a stand on the issue.