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October 22, 2021

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Benefits are Available Under D.C.’s Paid Family Leave Law Starting July 1

Starting July 1, 2020, eligible employees may take paid leave under the District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act.

The Act provides:

  • Eight weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, or placement with an individual who assumes parental responsibility;
  • Six weeks of paid leave to take care of a family member with a serious health condition; and
  • Two weeks of paid leave for the employee’s own serious health condition.

Although the D.C. Department of Employment Services hinted that entitlement to paid leave under the statute might be delayed due to COVID-19, benefits will be available to eligible employees starting  July 1, as planned.

Paid leave under the Act is not paid out by employers. Instead, D.C.’s “Universal Paid Leave Fund” began collecting employer contributions one year ago, on July 1, 2019. Contributions are received from employers through a tax program similar to the one that funds unemployment benefits. The law requires that the Paid Family Leave Employee Notice be posted in all covered D.C. workplaces. The D.C. Department of Employment Services offers a copy of this poster, as well as other useful resources, on its dedicated Paid Family Leave Website.

To prepare for these new requirements, D.C. employers should:

  • Ensure their employee handbooks are up to date;
  • Revisit their existing leave policies to ensure coordination between their leave programs and these new benefits, particularly if they voluntarily offer paid leave benefits similar to those covered by the law;  
  • Include the requirements of this law in management training; and
  • Ensure that HR and payroll staff and vendors are familiar with how to implement these new rules.
Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume X, Number 182

About this Author

Teresa Burke Wright, Jackson Lewis, contracts litigation lawyer, administrative proceedings attorney

Teresa Wright is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents numerous employers in both litigation and administrative proceedings and advises clients with respect to state and federal employment laws.

Ms. Wright has handled jury trials and other litigation involving discrimination, harassment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and wrongful termination. She also counsels management regarding employment issues,...

Matthew F. Nieman, Jackson Lewis, employment discrimination lawyer, tort contract claims attorney
Principal and Office Litigation Manager

Matthew F. Nieman is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He also serves as the Litigation Manager for the office.

Mr. Nieman represents employers in a broad spectrum of labor and employment law matters, including discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour, whistleblower claims (including Dodd-Frank, the False Claims Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley), questions related to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”), and workplace drug-testing issues. He is ...