Bowser holds off on endorsing family-leave proposal

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia’s mayor is not endorsing a proposal to give residents up to 16 weeks of paid family leave.

 The proposal would create the most generous package in the nation among cities and states if approved by the City Council.

“Certainly everybody wants to support families. But, we have some questions,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tells NBC Washington. “I think there are some very important questions to be answered.”

The measure would provide paid time off for “qualifying events,” such as bonding with newborns and adopted children, or helping a family member recover from illness.

“We have some questions for the District government itself and our 33,000 employees,” Bowser tells NBC4 while also noting that city businesses are awaiting a financial analysis of the proposal.

As the council bill stands now, the District and federal governments would not contribute to the fund as employers. City businesses would be exclusively responsible for funding the paid family leave pool with a payroll tax based on the size of the business — similar to how health care contributions work. The tax would be up to but not more than one percent.

Among the questions some critics have is whether 16 weeks is too long a time frame and whether city businesses should be responsible for funding such leave even for D.C. residents employed outside the District.

Eight out of 13 council members support the bill, which is expected to be ready for a final vote early next year.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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