Will D.C. Workers Get 16 Weeks of Paid Family and Medical Leave?

A new bill making its way through Washington, D.C.’s city council could give working parents in the nation’s capital some of the most generous benefits in the country. Introduced by the DC Council earlier this month, the proposed plan would give all new parents up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave.

The bill would require all non-federal employers to deposit money into a joint fund to cover employees on leave during major life events. Workers would receive all of their pay, up until $1,000 a week; beyond that amount, they would only get 50 percent of their average weekly pay. No worker will receive more than $3,000 weekly—the assumption being that workers making more money than that already have sufficient paid leave benefits. This “sliding scale” model, if adopted, would be one of the most generous in the country, particularly for low-income workers.

Employers would shoulder most of the costs, which are estimated to be less than 1 percent of each worker’s payroll. However, for federal employees in DC to opt in to the program, they would have to pay a fee, because DC cannot tax the federal government.

Several top tech companies have flexible parental paid leave policies, including Facebook and Google. A few months ago, Netflix introduced the option of unlimited parental leave during the first year following a child’s birth or adoption. In addition, Adobe announced a similar new policy, which it based on its observation of new parents at the company. Also earlier this month, during the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting, the Working Parent Support Coalition was formed to lend increased workplace support to new parents.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Work Injury Attorneys