There are currently two pieces of employee-friendly legislation under consideration with the D.C. Council that will impact employers in Washington, D.C.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
This week the D.C. Council provided initial approval of the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act, granting paid leave benefits to all who work in the District, except federal employees. The bill provides eight weeks of paid time off to parents following a birth or adoption, six weeks of paid leave to assist a sick or injured family member, and two weeks of paid leave for an employee’s own sickness or injury. The benefits in the approved bill were scaled down from a previous proposal, and now include leave for individual medical needs.
The benefits will be funded by an employer payroll tax of .62%. Employees on paid leave would receive 90% of the first $884 of their weekly salary and 50% of their remaining weekly salary. The benefit will be capped at $1,000 a week.
The intent of the legislation is primarily to aid low-wage workers who do not receive paid leave in their jobs. Critics of the bill believe those who would benefit most from this legislation are Maryland and Virginia residents who work in the District. If approved, the law will provide some of the most generous state-mandated paid leave benefits in the U.S.
Benefits will likely not be provided until 2020, as the District will need time to develop a system to administer the program and accumulate enough tax revenue to fund these benefits.
The Council will hold a final vote on December 20th. If it passes, the legislation could then be approved or vetoed by the mayor.
Ban on Credit Checks for Applicants
The Judiciary Committee of the D.C. Council recently passed the Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act, which would add credit information as a protected trait covered by the D.C. Human Rights Act. The bill would still allow an employer to check an applicant’s credit history if there is a credible reason to do so, or if required by law. Currently, federal law allows credit checks in the hiring process, so long as the employer has permission from the applicant and provides notification before taking adverse action. As of now, there are 11 states and two major cities with legislation banning the use of credit checks for applicants.
The impetus behind this legislation is the belief that credit histories often show inaccurate information and may not necessarily be an indicator of job performance. Advocates for this legislation feel the use of credit checks in hiring is unfair to those who may have a bad credit history and are trying to correct this through new employment. Proponents of credit checks feel they help identify applicants who could be a risk for committing theft or fraud due to their financial situations.
The legislation is now being forwarded to the full Council for a vote.
If you have questions about how the new legislation can impact your nonprofit, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll keep you informed as more information emerges.