Coalition Calls for Study on Impact of DC’s Paid Leave Act
As concerns surrounding the proposed legislation increase in the DC business community, a coalition of organizations, including ASAE, is urging the DC Council to appoint a working group to examine the measure’s potential economic impact.
A coalition of Washington, DC-based organizations, including ASAE, have urged the DC Council to convene a working group to discuss how best to create a fiscally sustainable paid leave program in the nation’s capital.
The District’s “Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015” was introduced last October. If enacted, it would be the most generous family-leave law in the country, providing nearly every worker in the city up to 16 weeks of paid leave to recover from an illness, bond with a new child, or care for a sick relative. The benefit would be paid for with a tax on DC employers of up to 1 percent of employees’ salaries.
The DC Council has heard numerous concerns from the business community, as well as from the city’s chief financial officer and city administrator’s office, about the cost of establishing a universal paid leave program for almost every full-time and part-time employee in the District.
According to the coalition, the purpose of the working group would be to take a more thoughtful, deliberate approach to understand the different fiscal analyses produced by various stakeholders in order to more accurately predict the cost of the program. In a January 21 letter to DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the coalition pointed out that “there is no consensus on what the ultimate cost would be for the District government, employers, and employees if the legislation were enacted by the Council.”
ASAE believes the bill as currently drafted would create significant problems and burdens for all associations based in the District and many employees working or residing in the city. In December, ASAE testified on the bill before the Council and encouraged lawmakers to eliminate ambiguity in the proposed bill and ease any undue burden on the city’s association employers and employees.
In a January 17 editorial, the Washington Post called the act a “preposterous plan” pushed on the District by the Obama administration. The initial study that led to the proposed 16-week paid leave plan was funded with a grant from the Department of Labor.