On October 6, the one-year anniversary of the D.C. Council’s introduction of a “Universal Paid Leave” Bill, a coalition of D.C. employer groups presented to the Mayor and the D.C. Council an alternative that would benefit both employers and employees: an employer mandate model.
A letter to the Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) from the coalition stated, “Although well intentioned, the paid leave legislation currently being considered by the Council has significant flaws.” The letter expressed concerns that a 1% tax on employers will result in slowed growth and employers moving outside of the District. No other paid leave program in the country is funded this way.
Chairman Mendelson indicates he is moving forward on his legislation. His current bill creates a new bureaucracy to administer this program. In this model employees would go to the DC government to have leave approved and to secure a portion of their paycheck. While Mendelson is expected to revise his legislation he still indicates he plans to move the bill this year. “My commitment is that the Council will vote on the package this year,” Mendelson said.
The alternate Employer Mandate plan put forth by the coalition includes full wage replacement for eight weeks for employees who have been employed for at least one-year and have worked at least 1250 hours. Like the Council’s plan, the Employer Mandate will be phased in beginning with large employers. Employers with 50 or more employees will have one year to comply.
Small and medium organizations will have two years to implement the benefit. A shared risk insurance pool will be created through a private insurance market as an option for small organizations (with fewer than 20 employees) and medium organizations (with between 20-49 employees). The $20 million already put forth by the Council would be redirected to subsidize insurance premiums for small and medium organizations