Washington Post reports on audit of paid sick days law.


On Saturday, the Washington Post reported on our efforts to ensure the DC Auditor reviews the 2008 Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, which gives most workers in the District the ability to earn up to seven paid sick days. Unfortunately, this law excludes tipped restaurant workers and any worker within their first year in the job.

It’s been four years since the District passed the lauded Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008. However, as the Washington Post reports, the District has failed to conduct an audit to review how effective the policy has been at protecting District workers, even though one is required by statute.

As reported by the Washington Post, Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) thinks that “it was a relatively modest requirement, and I hope it’s worked well. But we should find out.” In response to the campaign, the DC Auditor has now agreed to conduct the audit in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1.

The announcement comes close on the heels of the Paid Sick Days for All Campaign’s DC Restaurant Week Actions, where restaurant workers and volunteers canvassed around the city talking to consumers throughought Restaurant Week,  one of the busiest times of the year for restaurants in the District. These volunteers also delivered flowers and get-well cards to restaurant workers, most of whom have had to work while sick, because they are not covered by the law.

According to the Washington Post article, independent groups have conducted initial assessments of the San Francisco paid sick days law – the first in the country – and they have found that most employers have not experienced negative consequences, and that employees are not abusing the law. Similarly, we’ve talked to employers in the District and they have not experience any abuse of this benefit by their employees, and have said that implementing this law has been relatively easy.

We applaud the Washington Post for reporting on our efforts to revise this law, and as we wait for this audit to take place we will continue to work to raise awareness about the current benefits that some workers are entitled to, and we will continue to work with employers in the District to make sure they are complying with the law. If, as D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said to the Washington Post, the current law is “more symbolic than actual,” we are ready to work with him and the rest of the D.C. Council to revise it.

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