DC Paid Leave Coming (Slowly)

DC Paid Leave Coming (Slowly)

Earlier this month Washington, D.C.’s new paid leave law, considered one of the most generous in the United States, went into effect. As The Washington Post reports:

The D.C. law provides for up to eight weeks of paid time off to new parents, six weeks to workers caring for ailing family members and two weeks of personal sick time.

Just four states have paid family leave programs—California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. They didn’t create these programs from scratch, however: All four had temporary disability programs already in place, which have been amended to include paid leave. (Only five states have temporary disability programs at all.) D.C.’s paid family leave program is unique because the city, which did not have a pre-existing temporary disability program, will have to build an entirely new policy infrastructure to administer the new entitlement. The district will pay for paid leave by levying a new payroll tax on employers.

According to Bloomberg BNA, D.C. lacks sufficient funds to get the program up and running any time soon, though the city has a few years to get its act together. Workers can start taking the paid leave benefit in 2020.

If D.C. leaders successfully build a new paid leave program from scratch, they will not just be helping residents in the nation’s capital, but will also be charting a progressive blueprint for other cities and states to follow.