Update on DC Paid Leave Implementation
Wondering what the status of the paid family leave law is in DC? Here’s an update, a refresher on the legislation, and steps that have been taken to begin implementation of the law.
Chairman Phil Mendelsohn said in early February that he would not continue efforts to amend the DC Paid Family Leave Act, which was enacted February 17, 2017. This means changes to the act aren’t likely, and it is expected to go into effect as enacted.
Here’s a reminder on the details of the legislation that was enacted:
- For eligible employees, 8 weeks of parental leave, 6 weeks of family leave, and 2 weeks of medical leave for every 52 weeks work
- Eligible individuals must be part- or full-time employees in the District
- DC government and federal employees are not included
- Benefits are paid by employer contributions, a 0.62 percent tax on wages or annual self-employment income. Self-employed individuals can opt-in.
- Employer tax scheduled to begin July 1, 2019. Benefits scheduled to be available starting July 1, 2020.
What happens next?
- DC Office of Employment Service (DOES) has been tasked with implementation of the law, which has two basic purposes: to collect the tax that funds the paid family leave benefit, and to provide a benefit to eligible employees.
- DOES has a 3 year implementation schedule that started in 2017 – so we are just getting into year 2 of implementation.
- DOES has begun quarterly reports on progress. The first report came out in late December 2017. The agency has also created a “splash page” for the Office of Paid Family Leave, which will presumably have more information as implementation moves forward.
- The DC Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development has also begun to hold roundtable discussions – the most recent was on January 31.
What does the report say?
The report focuses primarily on the technical systems that need to be purchased and developed into a tax and benefit system that can communicate well between the two functions. It lists and describes the functions that both systems will need to be capable of performing to collect taxes and disburse benefits.
While the report does not include very many specific milestones, it does talk about the importance of engaging community stakeholders and creating an education campaign. The report notes that (my emphasis added) “Additionally, the District will conduct a multi-year public education and outreach campaign that will include advertising (i.e. online, mobile, outdoor billboard, newspaper, radio, television, metro ads), informational and educational materials (i.e. brochures, posters, flyers, etc.), social media efforts, town hall meetings with stakeholders, and other direct outreach initiatives. As the program and marketing campaign progresses, a website or microsite will be developed to host paid leave information for the District’s targeted groups, including fact sheets, FAQs, press releases, contact information, etc.”
CHAMPS will continue to track the implementation and will make members aware of key points in the process where we can have input, such as public comment periods.