Good news for parents and parents-to-be living in DC: You could well be on your way to having 16 weeks paid leave if a new bill before the DC City Council passes.
Independent councilmembers Elissa Silverman and David Grosso have proposed theUniversal Paid Leave Act of 2015, which creates the most generous family leave program in the country.
If passed, all D.C. residents and workers would be eligible for up to 16 weeks of paid leave for medical or family reasons, including the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.
Silverman and Grosso have proposed a program that will work in the same way unemployment insurance works. Employers will pay into a fund dedicated to support the program, and when you need to take leave, you’ll file a claim to get your benefit. Some employees may have to pay into the fund as well, particularly DC residents who are federal government employees or who work outside the District.
According to WAMU, “Contributions would vary by salary; 1 percent for every employee making over $150,000 per year, 0.8 percent for those in the $50,000-150,000 range, and so on down. Self-employed residents would be allowed to opt out. . . . Under the bill, the fund would cover 100 percent of the first $1,000 an employee makes per week and 50 percent thereafter, for a maximum of $3,000 per week over the course of the leave taken.”
WAMU reports that the bill needs to go through the committee process and faces two votes before it will head to the Mayor’s desk for her sign-off.
While there are critics who think the legislation will unintentionally cause gender-based discrimination in hiring, one D.C. business owner wrote in Greater Greater Washington that giving his employees paid leave isn’t possible on the tight budget they have, and that this proposal would allow him to offer employees the leave they deserve.
DC-area advocates, such as Jews United for Justice, say that the votes are there for the legislation to pass, and are calling for the Mayor on board.
Interested in helping the cause to expand paid parental leave? Consider sending D.C.’s mayor an email, or joining the social media conversation with the hashtags #PaidLeave4DC and #LeadonLeave.
For more information on the DC proposal or on parental leave generally visit: DCPaidFamilyLeave.org