“The bill would allow working people to take up to 16 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, an ailing family member, or a personal illness”

family leave
Photo by PoPville flickr user Nathan Castellanos

From a press release:

“Today, District of Columbia Councilmembers Grosso (I-At Large) and Silverman (I-At Large), along with several of their colleagues, introduced the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015, which would provide paid family and medical leave for everyone who lives or works in the District. The bill would allow working people to take up to 16 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, an ailing family member, or a personal illness. If the bill is successful, D.C. will be the first city in the nation to provide paid family and medical leave for all.

The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition, a diverse alliance of citizens, local businesses, community institutions, service providers, and advocacy organizations is part of the national movement to #LeadOnLeave for common sense paid leave policies. Eighty percent of U.S. voters agree with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Obama Administration that no one should have to choose between caring for one’s family and earning a living.

“I’ve met countless new parents across the city who work in low-wage jobs and were forced to return to work before they were ready or fully able,” said Sheena Wadhawan, Advocacy Director of the DC Employment Justice Center. “As a new mom myself, that breaks my heart. We need policies that support working families, particularly during the kinds of life challenges we all face from time to time.”

“This bill is fundamentally about DC families needing the time and resources to care,” said Joanna Blotner, DC Paid Family Leave Campaign Manager. “I had to leave my own father paralyzed in a hospital bed because that’s what my work and finances demanded. We all need to be able to provide for ourselves and our families, and that includes giving our loved ones the best care we can when hard times strike. But I’ve spoken to too many people in our city who have had to make impossible and devastating choices because they had no paid leave. It’s time to make a change.”

“I was born premature, and my mom’s employers didn’t give her enough time to make the frequent NICU hospital visits or subsequent check up appointments,” said Travis Ballie, who works for coalition member NARAL Pro Choice America. “She had to give me up to be raised in Florida by other family members. I often wonder how my life would be different if my mom had the option of paid parental leave.”

The paid family and medical leave program will be financed through a shared system of employer and resident contributions to a citywide paid leave fund. Private sector employers will cover their employees’ contributions, and those who are self-employed, work for the Federal Government, or reverse commute would be guaranteed paid leave coverage through personal contributions. The city would then replace paychecks for those who need to take leave, lessening financial burdens on employers. The paycheck replacements are engineered to be progressive, with DC’s lowest paid people earning a replacement of 100% of their average weekly pay.

“When you’re already struggling to make ends meet, it’s simply not realistic to expect you to live on anything less than full pay. Washington, D.C. would be the first jurisdiction with this innovative and necessary approach to paid leave,” said Blotner. “Family comes first, and that means being able to care for new babies, aging parents, spouses, partners, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, or yourself, when the situation demands, without fear of being thrown into financial crisis.”

“Being a part of a community means that we are all responsible to each other, and healthcare and parental leave should not be reserved only for some,” said Mike Visser, owner of Flying Fish Coffee and Tea in Mount Pleasant. “I don’t have the revenue to offer paid parental leave out of pocket to my six employees, but I can do it as a contributor to a citywide pool. And I know my contributions are helping everyone in the city access paid parental leave. It’s a great deal for my business and for the District.”

“Leaving a job with maternity and medical benefits to start my own business was a huge risk,” said Sharon Rose Goldtzvik, owner and CEO of Uprise Communications, a boutique consultancy in D.C. “For entrepreneurs and start-ups to flourish, we need to know we’re covered in case we or our families get sick. And it shouldn’t be impossible to start businesses and families at the same time – we’re losing out on talented women in the District who want to add to the vibrancy of our city but are afraid of losing maternity benefits, like I was.”

This legislation gives employers the tools they need to retain talented employees, and helps save money on costs associated with turnover, hiring, training, and attrition. Employers want to do right by the people who work for them, and know that they benefit from more loyalty and higher productivity when their employees know they are valued. By keeping good people in the workforce, D.C. businesses can become more competitive.

If the Council approves the bill, D.C. would join Rhode Island, New Jersey, and California in providing paid family and medical leave to all working families. The DC Paid Family Leave Coalition seeks to enact and fund this urgently needed program during the 2015-2016 Council session.”

105 Comment

  • I wish my wife and I could take advantage of this. She just got diagnosed with a disease that will require several months of treatment, and it’s really hard for me to get her to all her appointments (most are 1-2 hours away) while still working. But our jobs are in VA so we’re SOL even if the bill passes. Yet another reason to be envious of people that have jobs in DC.

    • it sounds like you will be able to pay into the fund in order to receive the benefits. Im in a similar situation (wife is a fed, I work in Maryland) but have lived in the district for 10 years.

      • I hear you have to pay into it for a year before you can start taking advantage of it, though. We can’t afford to wait that long.
        Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction. This medical stuff is incredibly time-consuming and hard to do outside of normal work hours.

        • So sorry to hear that 8th street. I doubt the legislation would pass and go into effect in time for you, but you should know that there won’t be a one year waiting period once it is in effect for most people. The one year waiting period is only for self-employed people who opted out and then are opting back in and that’s to stop people from gaming the system. Everyone besides the self-employed are automatically covered and either they or their employer pays in 1% or less. The only other exception is federal workers who don’t live in DC because neither they nor their employers can be taxed by the District.

    • Maybe I’m reading the release incorrectly, but the very first sentence says that the paid leave would be available “for everyone who lives or works in the District.” Am I missing something, or can a DC resident not receive the benefit?

      • From what I have read the DC gov’t can make the benefit available to any DC resident but they can not compel the Feds or employers in MD/ VA to contribute. DC residents who work in MD/ VA can opt in to the benefit and pay the monthly fee themselvs (kind of like you would in a short-term disability plan).

      • DC residents who don’t have jobs in DC have to pay for it themselves. Wonder how much it’ll cost. I hardly know anyone living in DC that actually has a job there anymore.

        • Uh…. me? And lots of people I know do including most of my neighbors and friends.

          • I probably don’t know you or your neighbors or friends. It’s a big city. 🙂 I’m super jealous though.

          • Enjoy it while it lasts. I support policies like this but they encourage employers to choose the suburbs over DC. That’s why we have such crazy job sprawl.

          • We have job sprawl because people choose to live in the suburbs where they get more for less due to heavily subsidized roads and historically exclusive schools. Roads are becoming less subsidized, though, and the good school districts are suffering from budget shortfalls. And other jurisdictions aren’t keeping up with employee wants with policies like this paid family leave one, so I’m not that worried about job sprawl getting worse.

        • Where do most of the people you know have jobs? Why do they pay more to live in DC if their jobs are somewhere cheaper?

          • Living in Bethesda or Arlington, for example, is no cheaper than living in DC. It’s quite a bit more expensive, depending on what kind of living situation you’re looking for. I know plenty of people who live in DC and commute out of the city because it’s easier to find a wider range of housing that fits their budget and is still accessible by public transit.

          • Because some people like living in urban environments (I would think that answer is obvious if you choose to live in the city yourself). And as eggs noted, you have to get pretty far out into the suburbs before housing becomes substantially cheaper.

          • Why should someone live in a shitty place just to be close to work? Even if it is cheaper? Some people place more value on other quality-of-life factors. Or, you know, they got a new job sometime after buying their house in DC.

    • saf

      Are you a fed? When I was going through thyroid issues, my husband was able to use his sick leave to care for me. He’s a fed.

  • So this would be regardless if you are full time or part time, size of company/employees in a geographical area and regardless of how many hours worked within a calendar year? Curious what the specifics are exactly.

    • Yes, it would be regardless of your employer size and PT/FT status, but there’s a different law that says whether your employer has to hold your job open for you and small employers are already exempt from that.

  • Wonderful news.

  • This is awesome news. Four years ago I had a critically ill baby who required a 3 month NICU stay followed by many months of follow-up appts with specialists (3-4 appts a week). I ended up taking 6 months of unpaid leave off to manage it all. I was lucky and could take money out of our savings to deal with it but so many people don’t have savings to cover 6 months of no salary and the high cost of medical care.

  • Sure sounds nice – until you realize who is paying for all of this leave. This will result in taxes/fees tacked on to every single good/service in this city.

    • The article says who is paying for it. It’s funded through an employer tax (like social security or medicare) that will amount to about $1,500 per employee per year.

      • this makes me believe that we are all paying in to this fund…
        “shared system of employer and resident contributions to a citywide paid leave fund”

        • That makes me think the fund comes from a mix of employer contributions and personal contributions from individuals who don’t work in DC.

        • Residents that don’t work in DC will be able to pay into the fund and receive benefits. Employers in DC will pay for their employees, like SS and Medicare.

      • That is $1500 less compensation that the average employee will receive.

        • Not necessarily. Consider:
          * many employees are going to use the benefit to get more compensation than they would’ve gotten had they taken the same leave without the benefit (hence a net gain some years). So most people might make slightly less most years, and significantly more some years. And a few people (who never have children or significant family hardship) will make slightly less every year.
          * dynamic effects of people’s lives sucking less leading to more productivity, which leads to more economic growth and etc. to cover all those “slightly less” amounts above
          Not saying it will necessarily work out this way. The idea could fail. Who knows. But this is the theory; it’s not as cut and dry as you made it out to be.

      • It will actually be 1% or less of wages per year, which is a lot less than $1500.

    • Blithe

      Actually, it just sounds nice. Because often the alternative is that either someone who desperately needs care and support doesn’t get it, and/or someone who would like to provide care and support either can’t or loses their job in the process — and, among other things, stops paying taxes — for health reasons. I would rather pay for it collectively as a community than have multiple individuals and families bear the financial and emotional costs of our social policies.

      • +1
        If anything, it forces people to put a bit of money away for these events. Even if it slightly impacts their compensation. The average human is pretty terrible at financial planning for the long term. It’s one less thing to worry about and I’m happy to pay into the fund.

        • And if you need to use the program earlier on in your tenure of paying into it, it’s an interest-free loan option. Either way, it’s a plus for most people.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Yes please!

  • My mom had to quit her job to take care of my grandparents because she was taking so much time off to take them to doctors appointments, stay home when my grandfather had a bad episode, etc. She was making over $100k at the time and is now bankrupt after several years of not working. It has to be a million times worse for people already living paycheck to paycheck. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I think it will be interesting to see what the impact is going to be on the district’s huge lower income population. Do people who follow the ins and outs of the Council a bit more have a sense of how likely this is to actually pass?

  • I’m all for it, but I wonder how it will play with FMLA. Employers with fewer than 50 employees aren’t required to keep positions open for people who take extended leave.

    • Under the DC FMLA, that’s 20 employees. I imagine this is coupled with an expansion of the 16-week leave to all companies. But DC residents with private non-DC employers will have to negotiate the leave their employers offer before deciding to buy in privately.

    • And I wonder if the cost of short term disability insurance will come down for DC employers…

  • Is this mandatory or are people allowed to opt in or out of it? I ask because the press release identifies several categories of employees who will be eligible to participate in the program through personal contributions. If this becomes law, will these employees just see additional deductions taken from their checks; or do they have to sign up for the program?

    • It’s universal for nearly everyone who works or lives in DC. The only folks who can opt-out are the self-employed. Also, federal workers who don’t live in the District aren’t covered and can’t buy in. It’s too expensive to let people choose whether to buy in because then they can only opt-in in those years they expect to use it.

  • So if a carbon tax would result in fewer carbon emissions, and the DC bag tax was imposed to reduce the number of plastic bags, what would be the likely impact of a new tax on DC employers?

    • I’m not sure about a carbon tax, but the bag “tax” is really a “fee” and there is no financial impact on employers. The financial impact is on the customer and the customer can decide to pay for a bag or not. The financial burden is on the customer in this case.

      • I wouldn’t even call it a “fee”, I would call it “buying a bag”.

        • Except the money gets paid to the government (right? For litter cleanup or something?) rather than towards the bottom line of the bag purveyor.

    • Most of the non-Federal jobs in DC are in the service and hospitality industries. It’s hard to imagine those employers would leave DC for some other place where they won’t get as many customers.

    • clevelanddave

      Fewer jobs? This is so open ended, it is likely to be widely abused. Having a child is one thing: personal illness, or illness of a loved one for four months paid leave? Goodness, seems like a strong reason not to hire anyone at all, particularly someone with a dubious employment record.

  • Wow, this is wild. Definitely a step in the right direction, though it’s going to be difficult for small businesses to fork over $1500/year per employee. They will howl until no end. What’s the contribution for Feds? Will payments into the insurance scheme be tax deductible?

    • According to the articles I’ve read, DC gov can’t tax the feds, so DC federal employees would have to pay directly into the fund.

      • So I guess it would be the same the same price to pay in, as if I was the employer? For instance, if I make $100K I’d need to fork over $1,500 per year? Ideally, DC would allow Feds to pay with pre-tax earnings.

        • If you make $100,000, you’d need to pay 1% initially, and .8% once the fund is solvent. If you make $150,000, it’s $1500; if you make $300,000, it’s $3000.

    • As I understand it, feds are treated the same way employees who live in DC but work elsewhere will have to pay into the fund themselves. Self-employed will be able to opt out, but not anyone who earns wages. That’s based on a quick reading, so may not be accurate.

  • The $1500 number is the highest on the scale. From the Post:
    Every D.C. employer would be required to pay into the fund on a sliding scale. Law firms, lobbying groups and others with the District’s highest-paid workers would pay the equivalent of 1 percent of the salaries of employees who earn above $150,000, or about $1,500 annually per worker.

    On the low end, employers of minimum wage workers, who now earn $10.50 per hour, would have to contribute 0.6 percent of each worker’s pay, or about $131 per employee per year.

    • Except that there doesn’t appear to be a cap, so it’s one percent of the whole salary, not just $1500. Plus, the tiered system only kicks in when the fund is solvent – until then, it’s 1% for everyone.
      There are parts of this that are incredibly poorly thought out. Adverse selection, for one thing.

      • Oops – the adverse selection is mitigated a bit by the waiting period. That’s much better than I first thought.

        • It’s only the self-employed who can opt out and if they do and then want to opt back in, they have to pay for a whole year without the benefit first, so they can’t game the system too easily.

  • Great idea! Another tax for small business owners to pay! This is just the sort of poorly thought-out tax that I would expect from someone like Silverman, who has spent most of her life living off of the government’s largess.

    God forbid an individual take personal responsibility for him or herself and put money away in a savings account purchase disability or long term care coverage for such an expense.

    • 100% agree – small businesses will up and move to jurisdictions that don’t nickel and dime the heck out of them!

      • Or alternatively businesses in DC will be able to attract better employees by offering better benefits, and will thus gain a competitive advantage over businesses in the suburbs.

        • HaileUnlikely

          It’s an interesting empirical question, and we don’t really know what will happen, because no jurisdiction in the US has done this before. I suspect that both of the above (some businesses will move, others will stay to attract top talent) will occur to some unknown degree.
          However, given that the amount of the tax on employers is proportional to employee salary such that for a worker that gets paid minimum wage we’re talking about $131 and for a worker who makes $150K we’re talking about $1500, a small business with a dozen employees all paid roughly minimum wage or a tad more would take several decades to recoup their moving expenses, and most of the companies with large numbers of highly-paid employees are already located outside of DC, so I suspect that the number of businesses moving for the purpose of avoiding this tax will be very minimal. In the near-term, increasing commercial rents are a almost certainly a bigger factor pushing businesses out than this will be.

          • Right– and most DC businesses rely on DC residents and tourists for their business. Business will suffer if they move somewhere else. The ones that don’t necessarily need to be in DC, like government contractors, are already based in VA or MD for the most part.

          • If the crazy high rent hasn’t run them off, this is just a drop in the bucket. I do think we need to thoughtfully examine the burden it places on businesses, but ultimately, I believe this is sound public policy. Not everyone is able to save for a major life event, especially a lot of DC residents already living close to the poverty line and our parental leave policies are woefully inadequate, especially if you have any sort of medical complication.

          • well, you can do research on what has happened in the 3 places in the US with mandatory paid family leave.

          • I’m in the “what does it say about us as a nation that we force people who are sick, have sick children/parents, or need to bond with a child to go without any sort of financial support”. This a step in the right direction and I hope it becomes an issue in the Presidential election. We need to have a culture of support because you never know when you’ll need it. We shouldn’t have to cobble together types of leave, go broke, stay sick, or leave 2-4 week old babies in the care of others.

        • clevelanddave

          Unfortunately, highly unlikely, especially for lower wage workers, who will be hit hardest by making it less likely that employers will increase the number of employees they have. This will increase the cost of goods and services, increase the unemployment rate, will probably be abused by some workers, and will of course add complexity, paperwork and expense for employers. Way to go!

      • Yeah! Places like Le Diplomate will definitely have the same cache in Old Town Fairfax.

        • clevelanddave

          Yea, kind of a good point but put it this way: will LeDip’s owner open a second place in DC or in, say Old Town Alexandria or Bethesda? Hardly will be the only consideration but might be a secondary consideration. If he has 50 employees this probably adds an extra 50-75K to his payroll expenses, plus the possibility of paying half of four months salary because someones grandmother is ill.

    • I am fairly sure that neither disability insurance nor long term care insurance cover the birth or adoption of a child.

      • Incorrect. I paid into short-term disability insurance and received limited financial benefit when I took (otherwise unpaid) maternity leave. (The child bearing was considered my “disability.”)

    • Blithe

      John, I don’t know if you have ever been in the position of being the sole next of kin responsible for caring for an ill family member. It’s really hard to plan — financially and emotionally — for the often devastating demands that come along with serious illness. I say this as the only surviving child of divorced parents. I ended up being the next of kin for two extremely responsible adults who did their best to plan — as I did. Long term care coverage doesn’t begin to touch the kinds of expenses that can come with many health emergencies. Think things like multiple ER visits within a week; needing to find — and pay for — rehab or nursing home care. As hospital stays get shorter, and families get smaller, the needs of someone in a long-term health crisis easily overwhelm the resources of most of us — even those of us who take “personal responsibility” quite seriously.

    • Give me a break. I was diagnosed with cancer at age 25. How many people in their 20s plan on getting such a disease? None that I know of. Even with (crappy) health insurance and working full-time, I would have been $15-20K in debt if not for family. Same shit happened to me at age 35. Different cancer. Thank god I worked in government then (due to donated leave from colleagues), since I had to be out of the office for about 6 weeks just for chemo.

      Shit happens sometimes, and no matter how prepared you are, you’re still fucked one way or another. Perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough not to deal with it, but unfortunately many cannot say the same.

      • I’m sorry that you had to go through that and glad you had some support

      • Sorry you had to go through that. We already as a country contribute to areas that have natural disasters so why not figure out a way to do the same on an individual level. As long as its governed well and there isn’t a ton of gaming the system then I think its a great policy.

      • clevelanddave

        Yes, but do you make a universal rule based on the exceptional and unfortunate circumstances of a relatively few number of individuals (compared to the entire population of workers)? This doesn’t just cover individuals facing a life threatening illness, but any debilitating illness, or the illness of any close family member, and a number of other conditions. It does not matter if it is a biopsy of a melanoma, a non life threatening back injury, if you are the sole caregiver for your mom who lives in your house or if you have eight brothers and sisters and your mom has Alzheimer’s and is in Little Rock and you haven’t seen her for ten years.

    • John, do you know the first thing about low wage earners? About stagnating and decreasing wages? About increasing cost of living? We’re all still waiting for our trickle down, 30 years later. There is no way to squeeze the poor further.
      And no, small businesses are usually service businesses, so they aren’t going anywhere. Are you going to drive out to VA to buy your morning coffee? The ones that can move have already done so, in response to the high cost of living here.

      • Exactly what I stated above. Plus, businesses that hire low-wage earners need to be accessible to reliable public transit, and there are few places in VA where that’s possible.

      • I do know about low wage earners, as I employ several of them. In general, low wage earners are the first to not show up for work, to show up late, and to perform poorly at their jobs. They are low wage earners for a reason. Workers who don’t display those tendencies are quickly promoted into higher paying positions.

        If Silverman and Grasso’s bill goes into effect, you will see what little remaining retail is in the city leave for Maryland and Virginia. This proposed tax on business comes on the back of annual minimum wage increases and represents a 1-2 punch by the city. Combined with high rents and already high property taxes, the proverbial camel’s back will only hold a couple more straws…

        • So offer higher wages and better benefits to attract better talent. Progress, like all worthy things, is a sometimes slow and painful process. Change or fall into obsolescence.

          • justinbc

            “Attract better talent”
            If only it were that easy. I could be wrong, but I doubt there’s a distinguishable difference in the “talent” level of an employee making minimum wage and one making just slightly above that. If you’re a low wage employer in DC you’re not going to be recruiting the brightest minds from MIT and Stanford in to flip your burgers, no matter what benefit package you offer.

          • justinbc, that’s an extraordinarily elitist statement, and an incorrect one, too. The idea that all low wage earners are interchangeable low quality widgets is laughably wrong, and just demonstrates the fact that you don’t actually know or interact with any. And the idea that the working poor won’t be incentivized by higher pay is just dumb. A two dollar an hour raise to someone making $10.50 an hour is huge.

          • HaileUnlikely

            In the case of the low end of the wage distribution, I’ll grant that there might not be a dramatic difference in *talent*, but an extra $3-$5 per hour can sure as hell make a difference in worker motivation and enthusiasm. For instance, compare interactions with people doing ostensibly-similar jobs at Home Depot (pays near minimum wage) vs. Ace Hardware (pays significantly more). I suspect that there are other management-related factors at play besides wages, but the difference in customer experience is so stark that I’m usually willing to pay significantly more to buy a product at Ace vs. buying the exact same thing at Home Depot for less. (I’ll concede that more than 0% of my experiences at Home Depot have been positive, and fewer than 100% of my experiences at Ace have been positive, but on the whole, the staff at Ace are much more pleasant and seem much more interested in being helpful.

          • justinbc

            JCM, I don’t think they are all interchangeable, I do however know quite a lot about the hiring process in these areas and I’m telling you that the pool of people applying for almost all of them here in DC is identical. The post above seems to allude to the notion that by merely increasing the wage just a bit you’ll suddenly incentivize an entirely new bracket of people to apply, but that’s just not the case. It’s a great ideal, but in practice here in DC it rarely ever works like that. These jobs are normally posted on short notice and filled quickly. Employers don’t have time to sit around and wait on the $12 “talented” employee to come along, when a $10.50 employee can accomplish basically all of the same tasks.

          • You don’t think they’re interchangeable, just identical? And for some reason not motivated by money? And any old person at minimum wage will do? You have failed to disabuse me of my original opinion of your statement.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I think Justin has a legitimate point that literally the same exact individuals will apply for a job that pays minimum wage vs. a job that pays a buck or two more; I think he is taking the word “talent” in somebody else’s post above literally, and ignoring the differences in employee motivation and loyalty. Ace, for example, reported in a recent article that they found that paying people more reduced turnover by a ton, and thus allowed them to reduce their training budget. Did offering higher pay result in different people applying in the first place? I don’t know, but I kind of doubt it (i.e., I think Justin has a point here); however, I think he is overlooking (probably deliberately) other benefits to the employer associated with paying people more.

          • So much ill-informed, elitist, and selfish bloviating going on here.
            Yes, the same people will apply for a $10.50 job and for a $12 job. The difference in performance is how the employer treats them. Mentor and train them. Take a risk on someone who might not fit the profile. (We have hired a lot of refugees who might not speak great English, but who are very motivated.) Speak to them like people, ask about their kids, solicit their suggestions for how their piece of the operation can be improved. Demonstrate hard work. There is nothing more demotivating than watching the business owner sit around reading the newspaper while the staff are on their feet all day.
            I employ 18 people at an average of $12-13 per hour each (they start at minimum wage, but move up after the first 2 months, because that’s when you’re going to lose the chronically unmotivated ones.) If you don’t count the two month trial period, most my employees stay for years. My customers are universally pleased with the service.
            And I am THRILLED about this bill.

          • Why would the pool of applicants be the same? Do you think low-wage earners are fundamentally different from us? That they don’t have networks? I spent many years working in the restaurant business, in kitchens full of relatively low-wage workers, and I can emphatically tell you that there are vast differences in worker quality. That developing a reputation as good-paying restaurant with a good work environment gives you access to a much better pool of workers. That low wage workers are human beings, and have similar motivations and desires as medium- and high-wage workers.
            I never once advertised for a dishwasher or a busboy, and I never once hired one in off the street. I told my employees we needed another worker, and they spread the word. Their friends wanted to work for us because it was a good job, and they recommended their trusted friends because it’s hard work and they don’t want to have to carry the load for a slacker.

          • clevelanddave

            It. Doesn’t. Work. That. Way. IRL.

        • HaileUnlikely

          It must be really hard to motivate your employees to do a good job when you are unable to contain your contempt for them and also pay them low wages. Pardon my Amharic, but you sound like an asshole.
          More seriously now, you acknowledge that some low wage workers do a good job and thus you promote them. Before their promotion, they were low-wage workers, but were not bad workers. Thus, you contradict yourself here. In addition, there are lots of people who do important work that our society vastly undervalues, as well as hard workers who do relatively menial work, lack the skills to take on additional responsibilities, but do their jobs well and with pride. Depending on the type of low-wage job that you provide to your employees, you may not encounter any of these, but there are lots of them out there.

        • So move your 7-11 out to VA then, chief. Also, sounds like you’re doing a really bad job of hiring good people.

        • A lot of low wage earners have no access to paid sick leave which white collar workers take for granted. I am glad our city is working to protect the lawyers and waitresses alike.

          • What white collar workers (aside from government employees) have paid sick leave? Or are you talking about paid vacation that we can dip into if we get sick?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Anon 4:19 – that is basically the same thing from the standpoint of those with neither, which is what we’re talking about here.

    • How much do you suggest one save every month? $1000? Even if you and your loved ones make it another 30 years without getting sick, you’ll need more than that to cover the medical expenses and loss of pay (yes, even if you have insurance).

    • When did Silverman work for the Government before this January? Wasn’t she a reporter and employee at a nonprofit?

  • Just want to clarify if small business owners will be able to take advantage of this. This is a govt supported program? So unlike employers providing compensated maternity leave which basically leaves pregnant employers (me) sol, is this something even employers can take advantage of? Just asking because it sounds too good to be true. Thanks!

    • I believe self-employed people can take advantage, just like people employed by the feds or out of state could. But it’s prob not going to take effect in time for this pregnancy if you’re currently pregnant, unfortunately!

      • Wrong, those self employed or feds can opt in and pay a bit more in tax for it. But you need to contribute for 1 year before you take any benefits. As a fed in DC I support this bill!

        • No, feds can’t opt in – that’s been misreported. If you work for the federal government, you pay for yourself if you’re a DC resident and you’re not part of the system if you live somewhere else.

  • It IS a great idea. It’s high time we start placing societal value on paid parental/family leave.

  • Assuming non-profits (my employer) fall under the same category/expectations of private companies, does anyone have more info on when this would realistically go into effect?

    • Probably not till 2017. Even if it passes quickly, there’s congressional review and then it would take time to get up and running.

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