I am thrilled that the District will expand paid family leave benefits for private sector workers to 12 weeks of parental leave, 12 weeks of medical leave, 12 weeks of family care leave, and 2 weeks of pre-natal leave. This change will provide workers precious additional time to share with their babies, take care of sick family members, or recover from serious illness without having to sacrifice their paycheck. This issue has been close to my heart since needing to take unpaid leave to take care of my father before he passed away. Expanding paid family leave is how we support working families and live out our values as the District.
I’m also grateful that DC will be able to significantly reduce the payroll contribution tax on employers without affecting the solvency of the Paid Family Leave Fund. DC businesses will become even more competitive by expanding employee benefits at an affordable rate. Paid family leave boosts employee morale, improves employee retention, and makes workplaces more equitable. It also makes businesses more responsive to the needs of employees in the wake of our pandemic health crisis.
DC Paid Family Leave is the outcome of a decade of hard work and community advocacy, as well as important changes in the FY22 budget from the Council’s Committee on Labor under the leadership of Councilmember Elissa Silverman. I’m also thankful to my Legislative Director Joanna Blotner, who worked persistently as an advocate and as a Council staffer to make paid family leave a reality in DC.
These changes are certified to go into effect on July 1, 2022.