Employment

Washington, D.C. Mulls Nation's Biggest Family Leave Benefit, Funded By New Tax on Employers. Obviously the Federal Government Is Exempt.

Obama administration backs new measure, hopes to see it replicated elsewhere.

|

Two Washington, D.C. city councilmembers have introduced legislation that would require District of Columbia employers to provide workers with more paid time off after child birth than anywhere else in the country.

If the bill passes, D.C. residents who make up to $52,000 would get their full salary for 16 weeks following the birth of a child; those who make more would get $1,000 a week, plus an amount equal to half of what they make over $52,000, with a limit of $3,000 a week.

The benefit would be funded through a new tax on employers, with firms whose employees make less paying in an amount equal to 0.6 percent of their incomes, and firms that offer high salaries paying in up to 1 percent.

Technically, it's a tax on businesses, not workers, but as with all benefits, it's almost certain to end up hitting employee compensation.

City officials are pitching the program as a way to give businesses a leg up on neighboring states, describing it, perhaps too hopefully, as a way to generate "loyalty" to the District versus neighbors that lack family leave policies, according to The Washington Post. In contrast, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, which represents city business interests, has said the measure would make the city "dangerously uncompetitive."

The program could have ripple effects elsewhere in the country. As the Post also notes, the program is "enthusiastically supported by the Obama administration," which funded its design through a $96,000 grant and hopes to see similar leave plans put in place across the nation. The federal government recently announced plans to put $2 million toward funding the development of other paid leave programs elsewhere in the country.

The Post describes the program as having the potential to become "a rare legislative victory in Washington for President Obama — not on Capitol Hill, but down Pennsylvania Avenue inside city hall." If so, it would be a limited victory. The District's largest employer would be exempt from the measure, because the city cannot force the federal government to comply. 

NEXT: California Pension Reformers Split Initiative into Two

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yep, DC’s business environment is why all the tech companies and government contracting companies are located in NoVA.

    1. You put it that way, and this will hit mostly law firms, lobbying firms, and various non-profit NGOs.

      Which makes me hate it less, in an unprincipled sort of way.

      1. I…I…agree. Sticking to principles is hard.

        1. Nothing unprincipled about that. They’re all statist parasites now getting hammered with state-overreach. They had it coming.

    2. Yep, DC is a shitty place to work and live. NoVA is still very expensive but definitely better. The job market is also wonderful.

      1. I work in DC. My company’s HQ is in Fairfax. I don’t blame ’em.

    3. Mark my words people. Obama, will still be our president for years and decades to come! I believe that he will be the first sitting president that refuses to leave office. I also believe that the federal government employees would stick up for him and jail anyone that would complain about Obama not leaving office in early 2017. It would be the federal governments way of saying in your face stupid, cowardly, American people. What the fuck are you going to do about it? The federal employees already get away with not paying any federal income taxes. They have agents that get away with shooting unarmed people in the back. Same for state and local law enforcement. And all government assholes trample on our rights every day, and get away with it.

      1. “Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter”

        1. I wish I had a news letter! I would do a better job than our government kiss ass media types.

      2. Federal employees do pay are supposed to pay federal income tax. Even members of Congress and the President are supposed to file. They do have their own retirement system.

        (Some of them illegally get away with stuff, just like other people do.)

  2. Pledge your allegiance to the Capitol. For all that is good comes from the Capitol. The Districts exist through the mercy of the Capitol.

    1. In the government asshole we trust.

  3. as with all benefits, it’s almost certain to end up hitting employee compensation.

    Unless you are a minimum wage worker (who still has a job), of course.

    1. Don’t worry, all minimum wage workers will be replaced by robots soon enough.

    2. “Why are real wages stagnant? Must be corporate greed destroying the middle class!”

    3. Somehow I doubt there are many minimum wage workers surviving in D.C.

      Note that $1,000 a week is pretty much the bottom rung for this law. Minimum wage would be ~30% of that.

  4. Let’s force businesses to pay employees their salary for four months of not working. Yay! What could possibly go wrong?

    1. You think moms don’t work?!?

      TIWTANLW

      War on wimmenz!

  5. So, in order to not make this a total slap in the face to homosexuals, I’m sure there’s some provision for “other” life-changing events, right?

    1. Um, I’m pretty sure lesbians can still give birth.

    2. Gay couples can and do adopt children. Are adoptive parents somehow less worthy than others?

      1. I’m talking about normal homosexuals who hate children. Stay with me here.

        1. Cishomosexuals?

          1. Basicsexuals? Homosexual Classic? Retrohomos? Paleomos?

            must. coin. term.

            1. Cevesiarchy

              1. Rule by South American Seafood in Citrus Juice Dish?

                1. From the Latin “ceveo”, literally translated as “be the bottom”

                  1. I took way too much Latin

                  2. Cevichearchy seems like a delicious form of government.

          2. I also like beer and football – so sure.

            1. There seem to be the same number of gay commenters as there are commenters from Kentucky, but there don’t seem to be any gay commenters from Kentucky.

              Coincidence or Conspiracy?

              1. I thought everyone was from Chicago. That’s why they are always having meet ups.

        2. No Small Constantly Barking Dog Adoption Paid Leave for you.

          1. +1 Rat Terrier

    3. Yes, there is:

      almost every part-time and full-time employee in the nation’s capital would be entitled to 16?weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment or tend to an ill family member.

      1. Just curious:

        If you get pregnant and have an abortion, can you still get four months paid leave? If not, why not?

        1. Possibly because it doesn’t fit into any of the categories mentioned?

          1. A miscarriage is an illness… Hmm…

            1. Don’t put wheels on that idea…

      2. One other question:

        When you take your leave to bond with an infant or adopted child, is there any requirement that it be your child?

      3. How often can you get these 16 weeks? Because I get sick often. [cough]

      4. OK, so instead of “because I damn well feel like it” I can pretend to recover from an illness.

  6. Let’s create jobs by making it more expensive to hire employees!

  7. describing it, perhaps too hopefully, as a way to generate “loyalty” to the District versus neighbors that lack family leave policies

    Because “loyalty” means “not coming to work for 16 weeks by choice.”

    1. Yeah but you’ll be kicking ass the other 36 weeks! (Minus the standard two weeks of vacation and two weeks of paid holidays every year)

      1. TWO weeks?!! HAH!

        *admires five weeks of paid vacation*

    2. Read it again. It’s “a way to generate ‘loyalty’ to the District,” not to your employer.

      D.C. doesn’t how any loyalty to your employer; why should you?

  8. This is lunacy. Forcing employers to pay women who are not working is only going to make it that much harder for women to find work. The more the busybodies interfere with the ability of adults to negotiate mutually agreeable employment arrangements, the more difficult it will be for the (allegedly) protected party to get a job. Nobody wants to pay (or should) someone who is out of work. Yes I am a woman and I have had a baby, but I was not paid until I went back to work, and rightly so. I am an adult, not a child, I planned and saved for the time I would be out of work. I only wish the busybodies would stop treating women like we are incompetent children. Shit like this makes me want to move off this planet.

    1. It’s not just for women.

      almost every part-time and full-time employee in the nation’s capital would be entitled to 16?weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment or tend to an ill family member.

      1. What if I just feel like staying home for 4 months, doing nothing? I DEMAND MY RIGHTS!

        1. Me too, Kristen. Me too.

      2. “recuperate from a military deployment”

        If you are wounded, you will stay on AD until you are healthy enough to discharge or if not, then medically discharge (with whatever disability %).
        My employer had to hold my job for me, and that was more than enough to put on them as an obligation. Stay home and cash checks, WTF?!

      3. So… do both mom and dad get the 16 weeks off? How about their grown child (or two) who lives at home? One women has a child and there’s a man-year of work down the toilet.

        1. It’s never seemed like a better time for my Ban Moms campaign.

          1. Sometimes you are The Best

            1. Notice she has ensured nomination as “The Worst” by some other group, before she abandoned the status here, demonstrating her commitment to creating an enduring legacy of “Worsthood”

              1. Most of the time, she is The Worst

  9. Heartwarming story of the day

    An air hostess reportedly earned around ?650,000 over a two year period by having sex with plane passengers in the toilet.

    1. She looks like a hottie.

      She worked the ME routes.

      Interesting. [dusts off business plan for Poontang Airlines – where every flight has a happy ending!

      1. Back in my college days, a buddy of mine and I started working on a plan to lease or purchase a decommissioned North Sea oil rig (outside territorial waters) in order to turn it into a “Seasteading” brothel and casino, but the idea foundered, as youthful projects will, because his girlfriend at the time shamed him out of it, and he was the brains of the partnership – so it never happened, but it would have been perfect for a partnership with Pooontang Air.

        The other issue was that really, riding a helo in routinely rough conditions, to an industrial facility (even if it was painted in candy-cane red and white) would be a hard sell.

        1. The helo is part of the selling point. You want to capture the young single guy with more money than common sense market. The danger and rough conditions to get there just make the trip all the more manly and invigorating.

          1. Genius!

            Maybe they get to dress up like James Bond and abseil onto the deck! Themed Hooker Parties!

            1. Aren’t there any decommissioned rigs in, like, the Gulf of Mexico?

              1. There probably are, but the rigs tend to be semi-mobile. Pump put the ballast in the legs and let them settle, and when you finish, pump out the ballast and refloat them.

                The North Sea rigs are like “brick-built-shithouses” – they would float the rig out to the site, fill the legs with water as ballast to settle them, and then fill the legs with concrete. I’m not up to date on the North Sea at the moment, so I don’t know exactly how they decommission them, but compared to the Gulf, it’ll be a monumental task.

        2. The other issue was that really, riding a helo in routinely rough conditions, to an industrial facility (even if it was painted in candy-cane red and white) would be a hard sell.

          Luxury submarines.

          1. Oil rigs in the North Sea are pretty much inaccessible from sea level. Access to one of those rigs from a surface (or subsurface) vessel tends to be a hair-raising adventure.

    2. She might be able to get by on this…and then sell the movie and book rights.

      1. Especially cest the cash was off the books. That real money in her pocket, not pre tax.

    3. no pics even on the daily mail story. So it probably didn’t happen.

  10. How frickin’ delusional do you have to be, to actually believe that loading on deadweight regulatory costs are “a way to give businesses a leg up on neighboring states, describing it, perhaps too hopefully, as a way to generate “loyalty” to the District”.

    1. Given what progressives say makes a good business climate, that’s par for the course. In the progressiverse, Queen Carlotta has proclaimed every day as backwards day.

    2. As delusional as Marion Barry?

      1. Talk about delusional: To this day, people talk about the time of Boss Barry as a golden age for DC.

        1. If only the bitch hadn’t set him up.

        2. I think I’ve related this story before: back when Barry was running for City Council after his Mayoral terms, the news was interviewing a “man on the street” about Barry and the guy said Barry had done great things for the city and helped Ward 8 so, so much. In the background were boarded up businesses and literally tumbleweeds.

          Cognitive dissonance, how does it work?

          1. Large portions of DC in the 80s were scary places.

            1. And now, it’s prudent to fear *every* portion of DC.

              1. No kidding. Lived a couple blocks from the white house. We had one full out gang shootout while I was living there, and twice a year at least we had a drag into the bushes stranger rape. That’s in the ‘safe’ part of DC. You go to the parts of DC were rent isn’t $1,700 for a one room efficiency and you get things like my friend who answered the door to get a gun shoved in his face one week after moving in. Of course, that’s why all the apartments in the safe neighbor hoods pay doormen and/or require a keycard to get into the building (well that and the homeless people everywhere).

                1. I still remember my first trip to DC back in 88 to get a passport. As I was walking to the office, just a couple of blocks form the Capitol, some guy walks up and offers me some heroin.

                  It was a good primer for the few years I spent in Baltimore.

                2. friend who answered the door to get a gun shoved in his face one week after moving in

                  Your friend opened the door to a stranger? Was he from Mayberry or something?

                  1. I believe he was from the part of the school population that had maids growing up. That being said, I answer doors without checking who is there too, so wealth ain’t the only determining factor in who does that.

                    1. I have never opened the door to someone I don’t know, ever. I learned this key safety tip after my college roommate was raped by a serial rapist in our apartment (right across the street from the National Cathedral – not at all a sketchy ‘hood).

                    2. I learned from his mistake to always check why the rent is cheap…

                  2. “Open de do’ o’ ah bus’ it in muthafuka!” is the universal phrase of good fellowship.

            2. I got here in 1990 and I avoided every neighborhood outside the Wisconsin & Mass Ave corridors.

              Then I moved to 13th & Mass (hooker central), then 11th & East Cap (druggie central), then Mount Pleasant (everything sketchy central).

      2. Mayor for Life!

  11. Well they at least thought their way around one of the big disincentives, namely the workplace directly paying for the paid time off. The way this law is structured you’re going to have to pay the tax whether your employees take 16 weeks off or not. I see a market distortion in the future.

    Employers now have a benefit that’s already paid for that can only be used by a certain type of employee. These employees can be compensated more at the same price as compensating other employees less. If the business is the type that can afford to lose an employee for four months (lobbying and non-profits) it can even help the bottom line. You’re only paying for eight months of pay instead of twelve months of pay.

    Higher compensations and voluntary shuffling (you’re thinking about having kids, why don’t you move to our DC office. We already paid for the leave, so we might as well get our money back) will probably end up with a higher than average percentage of employees taking time off for kids. Add in the companies moving out to Virginia to save some cash, and this program might even go broke.

    1. Oh wait, this applies to both parents and not just for the birth of a child. I change my previous statement. This program is going to go broke. I’d open an office in DC just to take advantage of all the money they are giving away. It could be a reward for my good employees. Life about to happen, take a tour in the DC office. Pay one percent of your income in and receive 1/4 of the year off with full pay, when your done taking time off come back and we’ll rotate someone else in that needs a no extra expense to the company vacation. The sucker living in the city full time will foot the bill.

  12. Prediction: in a couple years, the tax to finance this is going to get jacked up significantly.

    It’s got very obvious adverse selection problems. The federal government, federal contractors, and employers in other states are going to be exempt from paying into the fund, but their DC resident employees will be able to opt into the benefits for a “small fee.” About 30% of the DC workforce are federal employees. I’ve never seen numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if another 25% are employees of federal contractors. And about 25% of DC residents with jobs work outside the district, mostly in VA and MD, although some of those are probably also feds or fed contractors. Add them together, you’ve probably got 60% or so of the workforce with exempt employers, but who can opt in for a “small fee.” And people can just opt in when they’re planning a child, and then opt out once they used the benefits. In the insurance industry, this is known as adverse selection.

  13. “The fact of the matter is, if you’re making less than $1,000 a week, you can’t make ends meet on a fraction of your pay. You can’t afford to take that leave,” said Grosso, chairman of the council’s education committee.

    But you know what you can afford? A kid!!!

  14. Listen up, you yokeltarians! They’re called “employers” for a reason; business entities exist to employ people and provide them with paychecks and other benefits. Profits are just money stolen from the workers.

    1. You missed “KKKorporations,” but otherwise spot-on progspeak

  15. No, fuck you. STOP spending!

  16. They can call it the Male Employment Enhancement Program. And when pre-menopausal wonder why companies are only hiring male counterparts rather than them, both the hired male and the company can respond MEEP! MEEP!

  17. Another policy that discriminates against childless people. Fuck that noise, and I say this as a parent.

    1. Obama will be our first sitting president that refuses to leave office after his term is up. It will be the federal governments way of saying in your face stupid, cowardly, American people. So, Obama will still be our president for years and decades to come. After all, what could the people actually do about it? Our government crooks would probably just lock up or execute any citizen that would complain about it. Just like we already have government actors killing unarmed civilians over unpaid traffic fines.

  18. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

    http://www.OnlineJobs100.Com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.