LL spoke to D.C. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barbara Lang this afternoon and asked her about her organization’s proposed amendments to the pending sick-leave bill in front of the D.C. Council this week.

Of the 14 proposed amendments, Lang deems five to be “must-haves.”

Those are:

  • Defining “employee” in the same terms as the city’s Family and Medical Leave Act
  • An economic hardship exemption, like one in the smoking-ban bill
  • An exemption for businesses with 10 employees or less
  • Requirement for a yearly economic impact study
  • No waivers for the act allowed in collective bargaining agreements—-i.e., unions shouldn’t be allowed to bargain away paid sick days for wage increases, etc.

As for the Maryland-and-Virginia first clause, Lang says that’s a matter of keeping the District competitive with its neighbors. “There are 700,00 jobs in the District of Columbia every day; 450,000 are filled by residents of Maryland and Virginia. [The bill] asks dc business to pay for Maryland and Virginia residents when Maryland and Virginia are not doing that [for D.C. residents].”

Lang says she hasn’t discussed the amendments with the bill’s sponsor, At-Large Councilmember Carol Schwartz but has been focusing her energy on members she feels might actually be swayed. Lang reports she doesn’t yet have commitments from members to introduce all 14 amendments at Tuesday’s meeting.

Assuming the measure passes, amended heavily or not, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty would still have to sign it in to law, and Lang says Hizzoner’s still opposed to it. Is a veto a possibility? Says mayoral spokesperson Carrie Brooks: “I don’t think that determination has been made yet.”