Tell Mayor Bowser: Enact the DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights!

Mayor Muriel Bowser

Essential Worker Coalition Members

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East MD/DC
32BJ SEIU
AFSCME Council 20
Catholic Labor Network
Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU)
DC for Democracy
DC Jobs with Justice
Metro DC DSA
Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO
Metropolitan DC CLUW Chapter
National Domestic Workers Alliance, DC Chapter
National Lawyers Guild, D.C. Chapter
OPEIU, Local 2
Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC
SEIU Local 500
SEIU Local 722
Unite Here Local 23
Unite Here Local 25
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400
Washington Teachers' Union
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen
District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA)

One Fair Wage


Essential workers have risked their lives to keep all of us safe

One study from the University of California, San Francisco found that working age adults experienced a 22% increase in mortality during the pandemic and. Furthermore, Black and Latinx essential workers have been disproportionately negatively impacted by the pandemic. Despite the increase in vaccinations essential workers will still be facing substantial risks for some time to come due to the difficulty in achieving herd immunity and questions around future variants of the virus.

Mayor Bowser must include increased protections for essential workers in her budget proposal later this month. DC just received $2.5 billion in federal aid and has a substantial rainy day fund. It is critical that Mayor Bowser use these funds to improve the lives of the workers who risked their lives to keep all of safe. Please join us in calling on Mayor Bowser to enact the DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights Of Rights (details below) to ensure that essential workers receive increased pay and protections for the remainder of the pandemic and any future emergencies.

Sign your name to the right: if you are able to share your story, leave a comment about why this is so important. Please include your place of work or industry if you are comfortable. We may use your quote and first name in our public campaign materials.

DC Essential Workers' Bill Of Rights

Emergency Sick Leave

During a state of emergency essential employers must provide 80 hours of sick leave to be used to isolate, quarantine or take care of loved ones due to illness or childcare responsibilities related to school or daycare closed due to the pandemic. This would apply to essential employers with more than 50 employees. Unlike the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed last year we would like to ensure that we do not carve out healthcare workers. Furthermore, we would like to specifically include domestic workers regardless of employer size. Finally, in light of the prolonged period of time that healthcare and grocery store workers have been exposed to the virus we believe they should have access to an additional 40 hours of sick leave.

Hero Pay

During an emergency we call on the Mayor to designate a funding source to create a hero pay program that grants money to DC based employers to provide hazard pay of $3 per hour to essential workers who earn less than $100,000 per year. All employers of essentials workers would be required to apply for the grant and pay out hazard pay.

Bereavement Leave

All essential workers will be provided with 5 days of paid bereavement leave by essential employers during a state of emergency.

Presumptive Eligibility for COVID-19 Workers Compensation

Essential workers that contract COVID-19 would be presumed to have contracted COVID-19 through their employment. This decreases the burden on workers in proving that Covid-19 was contracted at work, which is exceedingly difficult if not impossible given the continued lack of regular Covid-19 testing and contact tracing by employers and public health officials.

Higher Standards for COVID Workplace Safety

Employers have the responsibility to ensure workplace safety, so the District of Columbia must require employers to provide workers with quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Fully protective PPE, including at a minimum N-95 respirators, must be provided to workers by employers in the quantity necessary to safely do their jobs. Reuse, extend the use of, or use so-called “decontaminated” PPE must not be allowed as it puts workers and others at risk. Employers should also be obligated to adopt protective policies regarding airborne, droplet, and contract transmission. Workers should be able and encouraged to quarantine due to exposure and/or stay at home while waiting for a test result without adverse employment action taken against them.




Sponsored by
Dc_jwj_color_vertical
Washington, DC

To: Mayor Muriel Bowser
From: [Your Name]

DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights

Emergency Sick Leave

During a state of emergency essential employers must provide 80 hours of sick leave to be used to isolate, quarantine or take care of loved ones due to illness or childcare responsibilities related to school or daycare closed due to the pandemic. This would apply to essential employers with more than 50 employees. Unlike the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed last year we would like to ensure that we do not carve out healthcare workers. Furthermore, we would like to specifically include domestic workers regardless of employer size. Finally, in light of the prolonged period of time that healthcare and grocery store workers have been exposed to the virus we believe they should have access to an additional 40 hours of sick leave.

Emergency Hazard Pay

During a state of emergency an essential worker who earns less than $100,000 per year would be provided with hazard pay (of $3.00 per hour) for each pay period the essential worker works during an emergency.

Bereavement Leave

All essential workers will be provided with 5 days of paid bereavement leave by essential employers during a state of emergency.

Presumptive Eligibility for COVID-19 Workers Compensation

Essential workers that contract COVID-19 would be presumed to have contracted COVID-19 through their employment. This decreases the burden on workers in proving that Covid-19 was contracted at work, which is exceedingly difficult if not impossible given the continued lack of regular Covid-19 testing and contact tracing by employers and public health officials.

Higher Standards for COVID Workplace Safety

Employers should be required to provide workers with high quality PPE, not simply cloth masks, reused PPE or so-called “decontaminated” PPE. Employers should also be obligated to adopt protective policies regarding airborne, droplet, and contract transmission. Finally workers should be able to quarantine due to exposure and/or stay at home while waiting for a test result without fear of retaliation.