The DC City Council voted to pass the Paid Leave Act in an amended form on December 20, 2016. The Act received its required first vote at the previous Legislative Meeting earlier in December, and passed by a vote of 11 to 2. In the interim, an alternative version of the bill focusing on an employer mandate rather than a payroll tax was circulated. NUCA of DC supported this version of the paid leave act. It was introduced as an amendment in the nature of a substitute, but was subsequently defeated by a vote of 8 to 5. An amendment was accepted that mandates a review of the bill three years after implementation, to determine if the tax rate and/or benefit levels should be revisited. In the end, the bill as amended passed by a 9 to 4 vote.
The core benefits and funding structure of the bill did not change between readings: the bill provides eight weeks of care when a new child joins a household (through birth, adoption, foster care, or assumed legal guardianship), six weeks of care for sick relatives, and two weeks of self-care. A 0.62% tax rate would be applied to employer payrolls, generating a maximum $1,000 weekly benefit. Employees would receive a benefit equaling 90% of their salary, up to 1.5 times the minimum wage, then 50% of their wage, up to the previously stated maximum.
Under the approved structure, the benefits will be administered by a yet-to-be-established District agency.