March 10, 2008—On March 5, Washington, D.C., became the second municipality to adopt a mandatory paid-leave policy covering all employers in D.C. (including the D.C. government, but not the federal government).
The DC paid-leave policy covers sick leave and safe leave (leave to deal with issues related to domestic violence, like court hearings). Before passage, the business community worked closely with some D.C. council members to amend the bill to include provisions that require an employee to work for 12 months before becoming eligible, make exempts health care workers and wait staff exempt, and require the city to do an annual assessment of the bill's impact on businesses.
Before it becomes effective, the bill needs to be signed by the mayor (who, although he opposed the bill, has indicated he will sign it), reviewed by the U.S. Congress and go through regulatory rulemaking. The new law will require businesses with 100 employees or more to provide seven paid sick and safe days, five days for firms with 25-99 employees, and three days for firms with 24 or fewer employees.
The federal government currently does not provide its employees with such paid leave, although federal employees do have access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave through the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The hearing included three panels with the following witnesses: