The District of Columbia is one step closer to passing one of the most generous paid family leave laws in the country, the most-recent version of which includes up to eleven weeks for the birth or adoption of a child. The full draft of the Universal Paid Leave Act is anticipated to be released today.
At a time when some local and state governments are getting out ahead of the federal government on issues that matter to workers, the District has the opportunity to lead the way on paid family leave policies.
Up To Eleven Weeks of Paid Leave for DC Workers
The latest draft of D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Act covers all full-time and part-time employees who work in the District regardless of where they live (city government employees who already receive paid family leave and federal employees are excepted). Both mothers and fathers would be entitled to the law’s eleven weeks of paid parental leave, which they may take within one year of birth or adoption. Family caregivers would also be eligible for eight weeks of paid leave to care for a sick relative.
Workers could receive up to 90 percent of their pay, capped at a maximum benefit of $1,000 per week. The law would pay for these new family leave benefits with a 0.62 percent payroll tax on employers in D.C.
Several Hurdles to Clear
The D.C. Council is expected to pass the new draft of the bill within the next month and send it to Mayor Muriel Bowser. The Mayor has not yet taken a position on the draft bill, although she has voiced some concerns about its cost and application to non-D.C. residents. And, of course, Congress can always step in to block the collective will of D.C. voters on policy matters with which it disagrees.
So, while some obstacles remain, we think the District is headed in the right direction on this issue.
For more information on the bill and opportunities to support paid family leave efforts in the District, visit the DC Paid Family Leave Coalition.