D.C. Council to Vote on Nation’s Most Beneficent Leave Law

December 2, 2016

Employers in the District of Columbia may soon be required to provide 11 weeks of paid family leave for parents to care for a new or adopted child and eight weeks of paid family leave to care for an ailing parent or grandparent. The requirement, which amounts to the country‚Äôs most beneficent family leave provision, would apply for both full- and part-time employees.  

It is not yet clear what the financial impact on employers will be. News outlets report that the leave would be funded by a 0.62 percent increase in payroll taxes, and that employees would receive their compensation by drawing from a government account, rather than receiving pay directly from their employers. If this is correct, the plan may have limited financial impact on employers.

The bill limits the amount of compensation paid to employees who take time off.  Employees making up to 1.5 times the minimum wage would receive 90 percent of their pay. Employees earning more than that would receive 50 percent of their pay that exceeds an amount of 1.5 times the minimum wage, with compensation capped at $1,000 per week.

Notably, the bill exempts District of Columbia and federal government employees. District government employees already receive eight weeks off for family leave with 100 percent of their pay.

The Council of the District of Columbia is set to vote on the proposal Dec. 6, and the measure is expected to pass. If it does, the first taxes will be collected in 2019 and benefits will be paid beginning in 2020.

If you have questions, please contact any member of the McGuireWoods Tysons labor and employment team.