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Washington, D.C., expands paid leave

Associated Press

Washington, D.C., has significantly expanded its paid leave law, giving non-government workers in the city up to eight weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child.

They also will get up to six weeks paid leave to care for a sick relative and two weeks of paid time off when workers themselves are ill.

The D.C. Council approved the law Dec. 20. It's likely to take effect early in 2017, after a 30-day period during which it can be reviewed by Congress.

Since its paid sick leave law took effect in 2008, Washington has required employers to give staffers up to six to eight paid days off a year, depending on the size of a company.

The time can be used if workers or a close relative is sick. The city was the second in the nation to enact a paid sick leave law, following San Francisco, whose law took effect in 2007.

The move toward paid sick leave has gained momentum the past few years. In the absence of a federal law requiring companies to pay workers when they call out sick, states have been creating laws.

Forty jurisdictions have paid sick leave laws, according to Family Values @ Work, a group that advocates for workers to be given time off for illness and family needs.

Arizona, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have laws in effect or recently approved, along with cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The state and local laws tend to have the greatest impact on smaller companies that are less likely than mid-size or large businesses to offer sick leave.

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