Empowering Mothers in the Workforce

(Names are changed to protect the privacy of the client)



On May 9, we celebrated 'Mother's Day. The DC Bar Foundation is proud to support our grantee First Shift Justice Project, an organization focused on helping working mothers in low-wage jobs assert their workplace rights to prevent job loss. Read on to learn about how First Shift Justice Project supported Ward 8 resident and pregnant mother-to-be, Shivonne, during the pandemic.


In August of 2020, Shivonne returned to her job at a DC mental health treatment facility after being laid off because of the pandemic. She learned about First Shift Justice Project from her medical provider and called them a few weeks before giving birth for legal assistance.


Shivonne had talked to her employer about taking time off after giving birth. While her employer agreed, she found it increasingly difficult to communicate about leave as her due date grew nearer. Shivonne wanted information about her legal rights to time off so that, and when she continued discussions with her boss, she could be informed and have the assurance that her job would be waiting for her when her maternity leave ended.


An attorney from First Shift Justice Project explained her rights to leave under the DC Family Medical Leave Act and informed her that she could get paid leave benefits under the new DC Paid Family Leave program. When the attorney followed up with Shivonne a few weeks later, after the baby was born, she helped Shivonne navigate the application process for paid family leave benefits. Ultimately, thanks to First Shift's support, Shivonne was approved for paid family leave benefits and returned to work after her period of recovery from childbirth.


First Shift Justice Project's commitment to supporting working mothers is critical, and we are proud to support them. Please visit our website if you would like to learn more about the DC Bar Foundation and other grantees.