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D.C. Council Chair Drops Efforts to Modify Paid Leave Law

Mon, Feb 12, 2018

D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson appears to have abandoned efforts to amend the Universal Paid Leave Act. Proposed bills would have eased the tax burden on businesses and avoided the creation of a new District bureaucracy to oversee the benefits. The Paid Leave Act passed in December 2016 with strong support from Mendelson and opposition from Mayor Muriel Bowser and the business community. A 0.62 percent employer-paid payroll tax funds the paid leave program which offers eight weeks of paid time off for new parents, six weeks to care for an ill relative and two weeks of personal sick time to workers in D.C.

During a political debate last week, Chairman Mendelson blamed failed negotiations for his decision to drop efforts to modify the law. Mendelson also said that he has not ruled out tweaking the law at some point.

The Department of Employment Services, which oversees the paid leave program, released a report earlier this month outlining a timeline for paying out benefits by 2020.