dc paid sick days

The Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act, which ensures that no worker in DC will be forced to choose between their healthy and economic security, just passed unanimously! Despite the National Restaurant Association and their DC arm’s best efforts, DC now has one of the strongest paid sick day bills in the country. In a key victory for DC’s restaurant workers, tipped workers are included (ie, most servers, bussers, bartenders) and can start accruing paid sick days after one day on the job, earning up to 5 paid sick days annually.

The restaurant industry employs more than 48,000 people in DC, of which 60% have admitted to coming into work sick. It’s an industry norm, said LaDawn Harris-Robinson, who has worked as a waitress at the steakhouse Smith & Wollensky for about two years. “I’ve had pretty much everything” and still come to work over the past 15 years of serving and tending bar, she said, ticking off a list of ailments: bronchitis, sinusitis, a fractured foot, severe morning sickness. “There was a time when I was throwing up two to three times a day.”

Several restaurants in the DC-area voluntarily provide paid sick days to their employees and are our High Road partners.

  • Ben’s Chilli Bowl
  • Busboys & Poets
  • Eatonville
  • Florida Avenue Grille
  • Inspire BBQ
  • Oyamel
  • Pleasant Pops
  • Zaztinya – Think Food Group

The bill also includes strong enforcement mechanisms, like administrative remedies or a private right of action in court, attorneys fees for victorious plaintiffs and interest, $500 in extra damages if leave is denied per day denied, $1000 or higher civil penalties for violations, a 3 year statute of limitations that tolls if the notice wasn’t posted, very strong retaliation protections even for internal complaints, ability to suspend any registration certificates, permits or licenses held or requested by the employer or person until the violation is remedied, and a public education campaign to advertise the changes.

Huge congrats to ROC-DC and DC’s Paid Sick Day Coalition!

Review our paid sick days report on DC restaurant workers here.

Want to know if your favorite restaurant offers its staff paid sick days?
Get our 2014 Diners Guide app!