Proposed Family Leave in D.C. Will Be Country’s Most Generous

If the proposed legislation by Washington D.C. council is passed, workers in the city could get up to 16 weeks of paid leave to take care of the sick or newborn.

The legislation, if becomes law will make Washington D.C. the city with the most generous family leave benefit in the United States. In fact, it would double the length of any other paid leave program. In the last decade, only three states have passed similar laws. California and New Jersey offers 6 weeks of partially paid leave.

The new law will apply to both full and part-time workers. Based on the length of the leave period, workers will have enough time to bond with their newborn or adopted child, recover from sickness, have enough time to rest after a military deployment or take care on an ill family member. The law will apply to those working in Washington D.C. as well as those employed outside the city.

Nonetheless, federal government employees working in Maryland and Virginia will be excluded in the proposed plan since the city cannot force them to take part.

The city’s government is planning to use its share of the fund that was created by the federal government using a new tax on employers to fuel this ambitious plan. Through the plan, any worker who is making up to $ 52,000 annually will get a 100% pay for the 16 weeks they will be on leave. Those earning more will get up to $ 1,000 every week and up to 50% of the additional income of up to $ 3,000.

As rosy as it seems on paper, not everyone is supporting the proposed plan. The Washington D.C Chamber of Commerce says that the scheme would turn D.C. into a “dangerously uncompetitive” city. The Chamber wrote to the city’s council pushing back against the proposal.

Harry Wingo, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, said that this move was “unprecedented” and would hurt the city’s business.

The bill to have the scheme passed into law was introduced by David Grosso, a D.C. council member. Grosso and other 6 members of a 13 member council said in a statement that the scheme will be beneficial to the city’s workers and families.

Approximately $ 96,000 will be used to start the program dubbed as the Universal Paid Leave Act. The city’s council plans to use part of $ 1,000,000 given to cities and states by the Obama administration to expand access to paid leave. It is still unclear if the proposed legislation will indeed become law.

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