D.C. Paid Sick Days

November 18, 2010

Despite a paid sick days law passed two years ago in the District of Columbia, tipped restaurant employees are not afforded paid time off when sick or to care for a sick family member. Washington was only the second city in the U.S. to pass a paid sick days law, the 2008 D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. Under the law, employers must grant paid sick leave to their employees, but the amount of time off is determined by the size of the employer and not all types of workers are covered. Unfortunately, the current law remains little known  and under-enforced. CLASP is working to implement and improve the Washington D.C. paid sick days law in conjunction with the local D.C. coalition, which is led by D.C. Employment Justice Center , Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington, DC , and Jews United for Justice .

Carrotmob in D.C.

On November 13, Teaism became the first business to be rewarded a "Carrotmob" in Washington, D.C. in support of paid sick days for all workers. In a Carrotmob, businesses compete to make the biggest socially-responsible change.  A network of consumers then "mobs" the winning business with spending as a reward. It's the opposite of a boycott.

View photos from this event >>


Tommy Wells,
D.C. Councilmember
for Ward 6

"I'm proud of this city for passing
this bill, but I was embarrassed
that...we didn't protect our restaurant              

Linda Orr, co-owner of Teaism

  "We are very lucky to have a very loyal, dependable and hard-working group of employees. Having paid sick leave days is just one of the many ways I try to take care of them and enrich their lives."

Indivar, Carrotmob attendee

"Something like paid sick days is
important for public health, it's important for
all of us who eat at these establishments. I think it's fantastic that we have some thoughtful, enlightened business owners
who are really leading the way."                    

Heidi, Carrotmob attendee

"I think that worker's rights are incredibly important, and especially individuals that work in a restaurant. It's a really hard job."

Shally, Carrotmob attendee

"I realized how important it was for businesses to start thinking about their workers....I'm much more likely to visit these establishments knowing that they care and place a priority on these things."                    

News on D.C. Paid Sick Days

Nov 14, 2012 | CLASP | link to article
Provoc, a Communications Firm, is "Walking the Talk"
When you walk into the light, airy room, in a residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., you don’t imagine it would be an office full of people working. It feels like a friend’s home. This is the creation of Raj Aggarwal, President of Provoc, a full service communications firm. Raj founded the company 13 years ago in Maryland and reincorporated in D.C. in 2004. They are now a globally distributed company with employees located in D.C., Amsterdam and Tanzania. They provide graphic design, branding, print media, state-of-the-art web technologies, illustration, and more. read more >>


Sep 23, 2012 | The Washington Post |link to article
D.C. Paid Sick Leave Law Should Be Audited, Advocates Say
Nearly four years after the District enacted a law that made it mandatory for most workplaces to offer paid sick days to employees, advocacy groups and researchers are ramping up pressure on the city to review the policy to determine whether it’s been effective at protecting local workers. read more >>


Sep 04, 2012 | Institute for Women's Policy Research | link to article
Recommendations for an Evaluation of the District of Columbia’s Paid Sick Days Law
This briefing paper presents recommendations for the evaluation and report on the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.1 One provision of the Act, which mandates that employers in the District of Columbia provide paid sick days to some employees, requires the Auditor of the District of Columbia to prepare and submit a report on the Act’s impact. read more >>


Dec 22, 2010  |  the kojo nnamdi show  |  link to article
Crowdsourcing, "Carrotmobs" and Local Business
Coordinator of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC, Nikki Lewis, spoke to the Kojo Nnamdi Show about the recent "carrotmob" in support of paid sick days. read more >>


Dec 02, 2010 | momsrising |  link to article
Paid Sick Days: Washington, D.C.
In 2008, Washington D.C. passed a paid sick days law, the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. The law means D.C. is one of only two places in the country that workers do not have to fear lost wages or their jobs if they or a family member have the flu or other short-term illness, or are the victim of domestic violence. read more >>


Nov 16, 2010  |  By Tim Carman   |  Washington City Paper  |  link to article
ROC-United Supports the People Who Actually Cook and Serve You Food
Several restaurants have expressed an interest in expanding (or already have expanded) the benefits even without a change in law, Lewis says; they include Teaism, Busboys & Poets, and Sticky Rice. read more >>

October 22, 2010  |  By andrea lindemann  |  Momsrising.org | link to article
Support Paid Sick Days When You Eat Out
Despite a paid sick days law passed two years ago in the District of Columbia, tipped restaurant employees are not afforded paid time off when sick or to care for a sick family member. That means many families are in the tough position of having to decide between a paycheck and seeking care when ill.

Now residents of D.C. can have their say. An exciting new campaign gives consumers the power to put their money where their mouth is. read more >>

September 3, 2010  |  By Jake Blumgart |  The Huffington Post  |  link to article
A New Labor Standard for Labor Day: Paid Sick Leave
You wake up Monday morning with a throbbing headache, achy muscles and a hacking cough. Do you miserably trudge into work, likely prolonging your recovery time and exposing your co-workers to infection? Or do you give your body the time it needs to heal, and call in sick? Can you afford to? read more >>

January 25, 2010  |  By Ann E. Marimow  |  The Washington Post  |  link to article
Many Workers Unaware of D.C. Sick-Leave Law Passed in 2008
More than a year after the District became the second city in the nation to require most employers to provide paid sick leave, proponents of the law say many workers are unaware of their rights and businesses are unclear about their responsibilities.

Advocates for low-wage workers and business leaders say the Fenty administration has delayed finalizing new rules that would get the word out to the community. Until those regulations are spelled out, critics say, workers are not guaranteed protection. read more >>  

Businesses Who Supported the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act

  • Politics and Prose
  • Bedazzled
  • Robert Silman Associates
  • Nonomura Studios
  • James & Hoffman, P.C.
  • Brothers Sew-Vac Center
  • Astor Pizza
  • Imaj Hair Salon
  • Idle Times Books
  • Community IT Innovators
  • Audra B. Rafter, President D.C. Federation of Business & Professional Women

Add Your Business

If you are a business or business association who would like more information about paid sick days and campaigns in your community, please contact Andrea Lindemann at alindemann@clasp.org or 202.906.8028.

If you would like to sign up your business or business association in support of paid sick days, please fill out this short form .

Learn more about how businesses can support paid sick days.

Additional Resources

10 Steps to Implement D.C.'s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008
CLASP has developed an implementation guide to help businesses understand their responsibilities under the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.

Employee Sick Leave DC Code § 32-131.01 et seq.
D.C. employee sick leave code.


Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Regulations
Accrued Sick and Safe Leave from the D.C. Municipal Regulations and D.C. Register (Chapter 7-32)

Official Notice: Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act of 2008
The official poster from the D.C. government for employers about D.C.'s paid sick days law from the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services.

Summary of District of Columbia Laws
Compilation of materials regarding D.C.'s Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act from the Catholic University of America.

D.C. Employment Justice Center
The D.C. Employment Justice Center (EJC) protects and promotes the legal rights of low-wage workers in the D.C. metro area. 

Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington, DC
Launched in September 2009, the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington, DC (ROC-DC) is a worker center dedicated to winning improved conditions and raising industry standards for all Washington, DC restaurant workers.


site by Trilogy Interactive