D.C.’s Highly Anticipated Paid Family Leave Program To Launch On Wednesday

Jackson Lewis P.C.

After three years of preparation, the District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 goes live this Wednesday, July 1. The law enables eligible employees who work in D.C. to take paid leave for certain family and medical purposes. Earlier this year, the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which will administer the program, suggested that the leave benefits portion of the statute might be delayed due to COVID-19. However, this possibility did not come to pass, and benefits will be available to eligible employees starting this Wednesday as planned.

Funded by D.C.’s “Universal Paid Leave Fund,” which began receiving employer contributions on July 1, 2019, the Act enables covered employees to take:

  • Eight weeks of paid time off when they become new parents;
  • Six weeks to take care of a family member who has been diagnosed with a serious health condition; and
  • Two weeks for the employee’s own serious health condition.

The law also requires that the Paid Family Leave Employee Notice be posted in all covered D.C. workplaces.

All D.C. employers should revisit their leave policies to ensure coordination between their existing leave policies and these new benefits. Employers who voluntarily offer paid leave benefits should be particularly careful to spell out how that leave synchronizes with these new requirements. In addition, the requirements of the PFL law should be included in management training, and employers should ensure that their HR and payroll staff are familiar with these new rules.

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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