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Like most of DC, I’m still reeling about what the next four years might mean for our District, country, and world – especially for our neighbors, friends, and family who are immigrants, people of color, Muslim, refugees, LGBTQ+, or live at the intersections of these identities. 
 
Right now, many of us are feeling overwhelmed. In fact, that’s probably an understatement, but there’s a unique and pressing opportunity to pass DC paid family & medical leave in the next few weeks, with markup and a first vote happening on Tuesday, December 6th! Yes, it’s finally happening!
 
 
 
Chairman Mendelson is revising the bill as we speak and it’s up to us to make sure this important legislation remains strong and comprehensive, with 12 weeks of paid leave family and medical leave, a 90% wage replacement for lowest income workers, and inclusive definitions of family and qualifying medical events.
 
 
As you probably already know, the United States is the only industrialized nation without guaranteed paid maternity leave, but that fact never gets less shocking and embarrassing. The DC Council has an incredible opportunity to #LeadOnLeave in the face of so much uncertainty and fear.
 
These two MomsRising members in Wards 3 & 6 know exactly why DC families can’t afford to wait any longer for paid leave:
 
This year, I have had to travel several times across the country to care for an ailing parent. She continues to be very ill and requires a great deal of hands-on care, both by me and by professional caregivers and friends. I am forced to consider quitting my job just to provide the care my mom so desperately needs. This is a huge blow to my personal finances, my health insurance status, my career, and potentially my entire long-term financial future. Please pass paid leave for DC! – MomsRising Member, Ward 3
 
Neither my husband nor I had paid family leave. We had to save for a year before having our babies so that we could take some time off. I had a post partum hemorrhage after the first birth, which made time off imperative for both of us. I also needed time to get a good start breastfeeding and to pump and save a stash of milk to use when I returned to work. As it was, I spent most of my time trying to find good and affordable child care. I was anemic, exhausted, and worried about money. I felt like the victim of a cruel joke--really, does it have to be this hard? – Jennifer, Ward 6
 
Whether you’re caring for a newborn you swear already smiles, a spouse with cancer, or an aging parent, nobody should have to lose their income or their job at the moment they need it most.
 
 
 
Paid family and medical leave boosts working families and the economy. It’s time to get the job done.
 
Together, we're a powerful force for women and families in DC.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of MomsRising.org

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