Councilmember Silverman Responds to Unvetted, Unfunded Paid Family Leave Alternative

At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman today released the following statement after Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced an amendment that would establish an employer mandate:

“The eleventh-hour employer mandate scheme presented this morning would make providing paid family leave financially impossible for all but the District’s largest businesses. It is a risky and volatile proposal, which has not been vetted in public debate.

It would get rid of the public insurance fund—a model currently used by three states providing paid leave to tens of millions of U.S. residents. It would also give most District businesses a small, unfunded employee tax credit that would not come close to financing parental, family, or personal medical leaves. While supporters of this amendment may claim that there will be no bureaucracy, businesses will still have to apply for “hardship petitions” that will be decided on a case-by-case basis, with details to be worked out in the future by the Mayor; and the city will have to ensure that businesses are complying with the program. In summary, it is uncertain how this proposal would work or be paid for.

The "Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016" that the Council voted to pass on December 6 has been reviewed, discussed, and debated for over fifteen months. A complete economic impact analysis has been conducted. This is not true for the employer mandate proposal. There is no economic impact analysis.  And as of this morning, there has been no bill presented and no fiscal impact statement issued.  I urge my colleagues to remain strong in support of a true paid leave program for the District’s workers.”