D.C. extends COVID-19 leave laws through November 5

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

As District of Columbia businesses and area schools continue to reopen, employers should keep in mind their continuing obligations under the District’s COVID-19 leave laws, which the mayor recently extended through November 5, 2021.

The District of Columbia previously enacted emergency laws requiring employers to give employees both paid and unpaid leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19 for the duration of the District’s declared public health emergency. Mayor Bowser allowed the public health emergency to expire on July 25, 2021; however, on July 24, 2021, she signed emergency legislation extending the COVID-19 leave laws through November 5, 2021. Accordingly, the following requirements remain in effect through November 5:

  • All D.C. employers must provide employees who have been employed for at least 30 days with up to 16 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave if the employee is unable to work due to specified reasons related to COVID-19, including a health care provider’s recommendation of quarantine or isolation for the employee or a household member for whom the employee needs to care, school closures, and the unavailability of the employee’s child care provider; and 
  • D.C. employers with between 50 and 499 employees must also provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees employed for at least 15 days for any of the reasons for which federal paid leave was available under the now-expired Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Additional details can be found in our prior post. These leaves are generally in addition to other leaves to which employees are entitled under the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act and the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. However, the emergency legislation does not create new leave entitlements for employees who already received qualifying leave earlier in the pandemic. 

The D.C. Office of Human Rights recently issued a revised mandatory poster regarding D.C. unpaid COVID-19 leave that must be posted conspicuously in the workplace, along with updated enforcement guidance. Guidance from the D.C. Office of the Attorney General on D.C. paid COVID-19 leave can be found here

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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