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October Hearing Announced for Proposals Related to D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Law

Mon, Aug 21, 2017

A public hearing will be held Tuesday, October 10 on proposed bills related to the Universal Paid Leave Act. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson made the announcement recently. The Council approved legislation in December 2016 that establishes a District-run paid leave program for individuals employed in the District.  The program provides eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family leave, and two weeks of medical leave.  The proposed bills provide different mechanisms for paying for the paid leave program and do not alter the number of weeks an individual would receive.  One bill would repeal and replace the D.C. law, and only provide parental and family paid leave for those employed by an entity that has 25 or more employees. 

Here’s a rundown of the bills:

Bill 22-130 

  • Requires large employers – an entity with 50 or more employees or annual payroll of $3.5 million or more – to provide family, medical, and parental leave, while maintaining a District-run program for small employers and exempting businesses with fewer than five employees from any obligation to provide family, medical, or parental leave. 
  • To fund the District-run program, the bill requires small businesses to pay a tax of 0.4% of its employees’ wages, while large employers would pay a 0.2% tax.
  • Establishes a Paid Leave Compensation Board and expands the definition of family under the “Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.”

Bill 22-133 

  • Requires employers, except for those with fewer than 50 employees, to obtain insurance to cover family, medical, and parental leave and to pay a fee of 0.1% or less in order to fund a tax credit for small businesses. 
  • Small businesses may participate in the insurance program or may receive a tax credit if the cost to the small business to provide family, medical, and parental leave exceeds 0.62% of its employees’ wages. 
  • Establishes a Paid Leave Compensation Board and expands the definition of family under the “Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.”

Bill 22-302 

  • Repeals the “Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016,” and replace it with an employer mandate for employers with 25 or more employees. 
  • Eliminates the two weeks of medical leave. Instead, the bill increases the number of sick days an individual can accrue pursuant to the “Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.” 
  • Creates a hardship exemption for employers who can demonstrate that they cannot feasibly provide family or parental leave.
  • Requires the Mayor to conduct a feasibility study with regard to the possibility of requiring paid leave of District employers with fewer than 25 employees.

Bill 22-325 

  • Requires covered employees to pay a fee of 0.42% of his or her wages into the Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund. 
  • An employer would pay a tax of 0.2% of its employees’ wages.

Bill 22-334 

  • Requires employers with more than 100 employees to provide family, medical, and parental leave to its employees but maintains a government-run paid leave program for businesses with a 100 or fewer employees. 
  • Amends the tax rate paid by small employers and large employers to 0.54% and 0.15%, respectively, of their employees’ wages. 
  • Mirrors the enforcement mechanisms provided for in the “Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008,” and explicitly authorizes third-party administration of the District-run program.

The Association's Advocacy Team will be closely monitoring the progress of the proposed bills and working with stakeholders.