We recently reported that Washington, DC had made significant progress towards passing one of the most generous paid family leave laws in the country. Two days ago, DC took an enormous leap forward when the City Council passed the Universal Paid Leave Act by a 9-4 vote.
The final version of the Act contains some changes to the benefits in D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’s draft legislation, which he released in November (that draft reduced the benefits of the original bill authored by Councilmembers David Grosso and Elissa Silverman). The Act now provides eight weeks of paid parental leave, six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick relative, and two weeks for paid personal medical leave. Chairman Mendelson’s prior draft provided for eleven weeks of parental leave and eight weeks of caregiver leave, but did not contain any paid personal medical leave. Both full-time and part-time workers remain eligible to receive up to 90 percent of their pay, capped at a maximum benefit of $1,000 per week. Despite a late attempt to change how the benefits would be funded, the law will still impose a 0.62 percent payroll tax on employers in the District.
The veto-proof 9-4 vote of City Council is significant because Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced that she will not sign the legislation. Mayor Bowser continues to voice objections to the bill’s cost and application to non-D.C. residents. Despite the Mayor’s opposition, and in the absence of Congressional intervention, the bill is headed towards becoming law.