D.C. Council Member Evan's Paid Leave Employer Mandate Will Harm Small Businesses

The proposal, which would likely cost thousands of dollars per employee, would be disastrous for small business owners, driving many into financial ruin.

The Main Street Alliance strongly opposes Council Member Jack Evans' amendment to the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2016, which would devastate small business owners struggling to compete with their larger competitors. Rather than relying on a social insurance pool--a model which would enable even the smallest business owners to offer leave for their employees and themselves--Evans' proposal would shift the full responsibility for absorbing the cost of employees’ paid leave on the employer.

The existing Universal Paid Family Leave Act bill was introduced after a year of extensive study, stakeholder engagement, and economic analysis. It is modeled after the thoroughly evaluated paid leave programs in New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island, which are broadly popular with small business owners and employees alike.  Evans' proposal, in contrast, would not only drive many small business owners out of business, but it is an entirely untested policy.  

"Passing Evans’ amendment is playing Russian roulette with the livelihoods of small business owners," said Michelle Sternthal, Deputy Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the Main Street Alliance, and Ward 4 resident. "A $200 tax credit is laughable for those small business owners who will not be able to stay in business. This policy is poorly thought out, it's bad for small business owners, and it’s bad for the D.C. economy."