DC Council approves generous paid family leave bill

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The D.C. Council has given final approval on a bill that would give employees working in D.C. one of the most generous paid family leave in the country.

The Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2015 would provide up to eight weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. It also allows six weeks to care for a sick family member.

“Today, the District of Columbia fundamentally changed how it treats workers,” said D.C. Councilmember David Grosso (I-At-large), who co-introduced the bill.  “Recognizing that our workers have responsibilities outside of their employment, the Council has voted to relieve them of the difficult choice between a paycheck and caring for a loved one.”

The bill calls for D.C. businesses to pay a new tax to fund the family leave, but council members Mary Cheh and Jack Evans put forth a new bill on Monday, which calls on private employers to provide the paid leave on an as needed basis – not through a new tax.

The council voted 9 to 4 in favor of the plan, which has now been sent to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Mayor Bowser said in a statement on the passage of the bill:

“Today, Chairman Mendelson and the Council passed a $250 million tax increase to mostly benefit residents of Maryland and Virginia. It is wrong to raise District taxes to fund a costly, new government program that sends 66 percent of the benefits outside of the city, and leaves District families behind. If the Council wants to raise $250 million in new taxes, shouldn’t the focus be on District residents and their needs?

Councilwoman Cheh was correct when she described this legislation as ill-considered, a situation we are likely to regret, and not the best way to go. I predict the Council will need to revisit this legislation and address the detrimental impacts on District residents and small businesses.

I will not add my name to this legislation.”

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