As of July 1, 2020, eligible employees who work in D.C. may take paid leave benefits for certain family and medical purposes under the District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (the “Program”).

Since July 1, 2019, covered DC employers have been required to contribute an amount equal to 0.62 percent of the wages of each of their covered employees to a Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund (“Fund”) through the Employer’s Self-Service Portal (ESSP). Please refer to our prior article for more information about employer contributions and recordkeeping requirements.

The Program enables covered employees to take:

  • Up to 8 weeks of paid time off within a 52-workweek period to bond with a newborn or a child placed for adoption, foster care, or in loco parentis.
  • Up to 6 weeks to take care of a family member who has been diagnosed with a serious health condition. Pursuant to FAQs Regarding COVID-19, an individual may file a claim for leave to provide care for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Up to 2 weeks for the employee’s own serious health condition. Benefits will not be paid to individuals who are quarantined but have not received an official diagnosis of COVID-19.

Who is a Covered Employer?

Any employer paying DC unemployment insurance (UI) taxes for one or more employees is covered by the Program. Employees whose wages are not reported to D.C. for UI are not covered. The leave program is administered by the Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) and is funded entirely by employer contributions that are submitted quarterly.

Which Employees are Eligible Under the Program?

Full-time and part-time employees of a covered employer are eligible if they spend at least 50% of their work time in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Employment Services released guidance for employers as it relates to the payment of contributions under the program stating that employees are covered if their work performed outside of D.C. consists of merely isolated transactions or is temporary, transitory, or incidental. Therefore, if employees are temporarily working remotely outside of D.C. due to COVID-19, they continue to be covered by the Program.

What is the Employee Notice Requirement?

The law requires covered employers to post the D.C. Paid Family Leave Employee Notice in all covered D.C. workplaces and provide copies to remote workers by February 1, 2020. For more information please see our prior blog post.

Additional Resources

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, medical or tax advice. It provides general information and is not intended to encompass all compliance and legal obligations that may be applicable. This information and any questions as to your specific circumstances should be reviewed with your respective legal counsel and/or tax advisor as we do not provide legal or tax advice. Please note that this information may be subject to change based on legislative changes. © 2020 Sequoia Benefits & Insurance Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Lizet Ramirez – Lizet is a Client Compliance Manager for Sequoia One, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Lizet enjoys live music, travel, hiking and spa days.