The DC Council Universal Paid Leave legislation appears to be moving forward quickly with passage likely by the end of December. Today Chairman Mendelson will release a new version of his legislation. Councilmember David Grosso has told the press this legislation will be the most expansive paid leave benefit in the country.
From coalition conversations and what has been reported in the press the bill will consist of 11 weeks of maternity/paternity leave and 8 weeks to care for a parent or grandparent. Employees would be eligible to receive up to 90% of salary with the benefit being capped at $1,000 a week. The bill will cover those who work in DC regardless of where they live. Both Federal employees and DC residents who work in other jurisdictions will not be permitted to opt-in to the program.
The program will be funded by a .62% payroll tax that is estimated to begin in January of 2019 that will create a new technology infrastructure and a DC government-run program. Employees will not be able to draw benefits from the fund until January of 2020. NUCA of DC has serious concerns as to how some of our members will be able to both pay the tax and provide strong benefits during this period of limbo.
Chairman Mendelson has reiterated his goal to pass the legislation before January. He plans to have the council take the first vote on Dec. 6 and the final vote on Dec. 20. Should the council vote twice in favor of the bill, it will be up to Mayor Muriel Bowser whether to veto the legislation. Bowser has voiced concern about the bill’s cost and its impact on the business community. The law would also need to be approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, though it is rare for Congress to invalidate a District law.
NUCA of DC, in conjunction with other invested organizations will continue to push for the alternative Employer Mandate model as it provides full wage replacement for 8 weeks at a lower cost while preserving the existing employer-employee benefits relationship. We will be sure to keep you updated as this issue progresses.