The Office of the District of Columbia Auditor released a report on Wednesday that found that the city’s mandatory paid sick leave law has not deterred businesses from staying in Washington.
Advocates had been encouraging an audit in hope that it would illuminate whether the law was being effectively enforced and whether it was having an impact on Washington’s business climate.
The law requires the District to conduct an annual assessment of the program, but this is the first time an audit has been carried out since the its 2008 enactment.
Auditors asked 800 District businesses whether the requirement would cause them to relocate their businesses. A majority, 87.5 percent, said it would not. Critics of the law had worried it would scare businesses away.
“[I]t appears that the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act did not have the economic impact of encouraging business owners to move a business from the District nor did the Act have the economic impact of discouraging business owners to locate a business in the District of Columbia,” the auditor’s report said.
The law requires businesses to post a notice for their workers that explains the rules on paid sick leave. In an inspection, auditors found that 91 percent of businesses were compliant with that rule.
The audit also found that some eligible temporary District government employees did not receive paid sick leave. It determined these workers missed out on this benefit because the human resources department did not have a system in place to track the time that they had earned.
The District’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act was just the second in the nation to require most employers to offer this benefit to its workers. Since its enactment, numerous other jurisdictions have considered similar initiatives.
In Maryland, a proposal for mandatory paid sick leave was withdrawn earlier this year after it failed in committee.