Tax credit proposed to pay for paid leave in DC

WASHINGTON — It could be the most generous paid leave law in the country. As D.C. Council is set to move forward with paid leave legislation, which the mayor believes is flawed, a new proposal to amend the bill has city hall buzzing.

Councilmembers Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, and Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, are proposing a change to how the Universal Paid-Leave Amendment Act is funded.

Under the amendment, businesses with more than 50 employees would pay for a staffer’s leave out-of-pocket, and are then refunded through a $200-per-employee tax credit.

Bill sponsor and At-Large Councilwoman Elissa Silverman said a proposed employer mandate to change the way paid leave is funded won’t work.

“This is an 11th hour, Hail Mary scheme designed to distract from the universal paid leave act,” she said in reaction to the proposed employer mandate.

Silverman said the pay-upfront plan makes it even harder on smaller operations.

“The way their proposal would work and the reason why it’s no good for workers are … if you’re a big business you just have to pay for out of pocket. And for small businesses, you have to do that too and ‘We’ll give you a tiny, little tax credit but hey, if a few employees are out, you have to pay it anyway,'” she said of the employer mandate.

The mayor has said she takes issue with the bill’s current .62 percent tax on all businesses which she has told WTOP is too high for many small businesses to bear.

Cheh and Evans did not return requests for comment.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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