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DC Council to Deliver Final Vote on Paid Family Leave

Mon, Dec 19, 2016

District Of Columbia

Earlier this month, the DC Council approved the Universal Paid Leave Act in a 12-1 vote. The final vote is slated for tomorrow, December 20. The bill could still be amended before heading to Mayor Muriel Bowser for approval or a veto. She has not indicated if she will sign the bill, however, there is enough support on the Council to override a veto.

The bill that passed earlier in the month is a scaled back version of prior proposals. The legislation would require employers to provide 8 weeks of paid family leave for parents to care for a newborn. The proposal introduced by Council Chair Phil Mendelson last week called for 11 weeks, which was pared back from the original 16 weeks introduced more than a year ago.

The approved legislation also requires employers to provide 6 weeks for employees to care for a sick family member, a reduction from the 8 weeks proposed by Mendelson. 2 weeks of individual sick leave was added. Mendelson’s version did not include paid leave for individual workers who suffered sickness or injury.

While certainly not ideal, stakeholders such as the DC Chamber of Commerce, the hospitality industry as well as the MD|DC Credit Union Association have weighed in and it is fair say that stakeholder concerns over the last year have had an impact and influenced efforts to scale back the legislation from the original proposal of up to 16 weeks of paid leave.   

To pay for the benefits, the city would increase employer-paid payroll taxes by .62 percent. Mendelson has estimated the District would not actually begin paying the benefits until 2020, after the city has developed a system to administer the program and accumulated enough tax money to launch it.