As we previously reported, in December 2016 the D.C. Council passed the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (the “Act”). If it becomes law, the Act will provide all full and part time private sector workers in D.C. with eight (8) weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, six (6) weeks of leave to care for a sick family member, and two (2) weeks for a personal illness. The new benefit would be funded by a new payroll tax of 0.62% imposed on employers. If the Act ultimately becomes law, D.C. employers would begin paying this new tax by July 1, 2019, and employees would be able to access the new benefit beginning July 1, 2020.

On February 15, 2017, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced in a letter sent to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson that she would neither sign nor veto the Act. In her letter, Mayor Bowser noted several “grave concerns about this legislation,” including that it:

  • Represents a significant tax increase;
  • Establishes one of the largest government agencies in D.C. for a program where non-D.C. residents are expected to receive two-thirds of the program’s benefits; and
  • Withholds the benefit until 2020.

Mayor Bowser urged the D.C. Council to develop “ways to overcome the[se] very significant deficiencies.”

The Act will now be submitted to Congress for review for a period of 30 legislative days before becoming law. The Act will become law unless, during that review period, Congress overturns the Act via a joint resolution which is signed by the President.