A new bill currently making its way through Washington, D.C.’s city council could give working parents in the nation’s capital some of America’s most generous benefits. Introduced by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, the proposed plan would give all new parents up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave; the legislation would also apply to other significant personal events, like tending to an ailing family member.
Helmed by D.C. Councilman David Grosso, the bill would require all non-federal employers to deposit money into a joint fund to cover employees on leave during major life events. Workers would receive 100% of their pay, up until $1,000 a week; beyond that amount, they would only get 50% of their average weekly pay. No worker will receive more than $3,000 weekly–the assumption being that people who make more money already have passable paid leave benefits. If adopted, this “sliding scale” model would be one of the most generous in the U.S., particularly for employees at the lower end of the pay scale.
“It’s a new approach to this problem,” Grosso told the Washington Business Journal. “It’s not new in the rest of the world, but it’s new here… This is something the U.S. is going to need to tackle if strong families really are a priority.”
Employers would shoulder the vast majority of costs, which are estimated to be less than 1% of each worker’s payroll, according to the Washington Business Journal. Federal employees who live in D.C., however, would have to pay a fee if they wanted to opt into the program, since D.C. can’t tax the federal government.
A number of leading tech companies have flexible parental paid leave policies, including Facebook and Google. In August, Netflix introduced the option of unlimited parental leave during the first year following a child’s birth or adoption; Adobe also announced a new policy, based on its observation of new parents at the company. Last week, during the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting, the Working Parent Support Coalition was formed to lend increased workplace support to new parents.