Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Paid family leave approved by Washington DC council, with some controversies

DC Council voted Tuesday December 6 on a bill to give all employees of District of Columbia companies six weeks paid family leave (which apparently covers maternity, paternity, adoption, and care of parents) and two weeks paid sick leave, a total potential of almost two months, for example, for maternity.  The front page Washington Post story by Peter Jamison and Michael Allison Chandler is here  Another story by Buck Nichols is here.

The measure is politically controversial because if will benefit commuters from Virginia and Maryland, who make up 64% of the potential “beneficiaries”.

The measure will be supported by an 0.62% payroll tax on employers.  This could be very hard on small businesses (who actually have to hire employees – I don’t, so there is a “fairness” or “skin in the game” argument already).

I had suggested that it be shared with employees, so that associates understand a “use it or lose it” idea – that the measure encourages having children (in marriage) or adoption.

The measure probably won’t start until 2019.

New Jersey and California require 69% coverage for six weeks for parental leave, and New York will require 67% of pay for 12 weeks (in 2018).

In Europe, some countries pay more for mothers than fathers. Switzerland offers 14 weeks paid maternity leave but no paternity leave France offers 26 weeks for mothers and 14 for fathers.

 Germany offers 52 weeks for mothers and 14 for fathers.  But in the US, to the extent that these laws are likely to pass at all, they may be gender neutral.

Trump wants to pay for family leave with unemployment insurance, but it would have to raise.  It’s unclear whether Trump would support gender neutrality.
Most large tech companies offer gender-neutral parental leave.  I don’t know what Trump’s own businesses do.  That may be up to his grown kids now.

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