In a historic move, the city of Washington, D.C., is about to offer the most generous family leave plan in U.S. history. Lawmakers have just introduced a bill that would offer four month of paid family and sick leave for every single person who resides and works in the nation's capital. If the bill passes, it would make a huge difference in the lives of people who have new babies or sick parents to take care of.
One of the most noteworthy features of this bill is that it would make family leave accessible to everyone, not just white-collar workers or people who work for large companies. According to the Washington Post, the bill would grant almost every part-time and full-time employee "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."
In comparison, most other states only offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave through the FamilyLeave and Medical Act (FMLA) and that's only for a small percentage of the workforce. If the proposed plan passes, it would more than double the length of any paid-leave program in the U.S.
The money for the bill—which is highly supported by the Obama administration—would come from a special tax incurred on the city's employees, ranging from 0.6 percent annually for minimum wage workers to 1 percent of the salaries for people who earn more than $150,000 per year.
Since the U.S. is, embarrassingly enough, currently the only developed nation with no paid family leave policy, this is definitely a step in the right direction to rectifying our shameful lack of care for new parents and caregivers.
Hopefully other states will start taking similar steps soon.