fresh voices from the front lines of change







Fatima Nayir is the co-owner of Mama’s Pizza in Washington, DC and is a member of the DMV Small Business Alliance, a project of Main Street Alliance. The following in an excerpt from her Washington Post oped in support of a municipal universal paid leave bill. You can read the full oped here.

Under the Universal Paid Leave program, everyone who works in the District would be covered by one program, funded by a 1 percent tax on employers. Everyone would contribute a tiny bit on a predictable schedule, and everyone would get access to a benefit families urgently need.

…local corporate lobbyists are proposing that each individual employer be required to provide paid family and medical leave out of pocket to their own employees – replacing the insurance-pool model that small business owners, including me, can afford and support…

…I wish I could afford to offer paid family leave to [my] employees … But, as a small business owner in an industry operating on small margins, I simply cannot afford to fund it on my own as big business lobbyists would have me do.

But I can afford a 1 percent payroll tax. That is why I support a citywide insurance pool. [And] as a restaurateur who depends of my customers’ disposable income to go out to eat from time to time, I want the greatest number of people to be covered by a paid leave program. And the more pathways to the middle class that the District builds, the more prosperity our local businesses will share.

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