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DC set to adopt sweeping paid leave

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Washington, D.C., restaurants may soon be required to offer employees paid leave time, as district council members approved one of the most extensive plans in the nation.

Barring a veto by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the measure mandates all private sector employers to offer workers eight weeks of parental time off and six weeks to care for a sick relative.

Restaurants will not directly compensate workers, who will be paid 90% of their wages through a government-run insurance program. However, operators will be hit with a 0.62% increase to employer payroll taxes to fund the estimated $250 million cost of the bill.

D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 follows New York state’s and San Francisco’s robust family leave polices passed in April. New York offers parents 12 weeks of time off with pay, and San Francisco workers receive 100% of their wages for six weeks.

A new district agency will oversee the program, which is set to go into effect in 2020.

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