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D.C. Paid Leave is Coming: Are you Ready?

On February 17, 2017, D.C. passed the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.  Beginning July 1, 2020, the law provides the following government-administered paid leave to D.C. employees:

  • Up to 8 weeks per year to bond with a new child.

  • Up to 6 weeks per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

  • Up to 2 weeks per year to care for the employee’s own serious health condition.

As the regulations continue to be finalized, several employer obligations have already started.  All D.C. employers should immediately ensure that they are in full compliance with this new law.

Employer Obligations

Payroll Requirements Effective July 2019

  • In July 2019, all D.C. employers were required to register with the Department of Employment Services, and begin contributing 0.62% of employee wages as a payroll tax.

  • All D.C. employers are obligated to provide quarterly reports to the Department of Employment Services regarding their payroll contributions.

Notice Requirements Effective February 1, 2020

  • Effective February 1, 2020, employers need to post this notice of rights in a conspicuous location.

  • Beginning February 1, 2020, employers must provide a notice of Universal Paid Leave rights to all new hires. This notice should either be acknowledged and signed by the employee, or sent via email with read receipts on.

  • Beginning February 1, 2020, employers must annually provide a notice of rights to all existing employees. This notice should also either be acknowledged and signed by each employee, or sent via email with read receipts on.

  • Each time an employer becomes aware that an employee may need qualifying leave, a notice of rights must again be provided to the employee.

Recordkeeping Requirements Effective July 2019

  • Employers must maintain all records relating to employee leave (including payroll records and notices provided) for a minimum of three years.

Employee Obligations to Take Paid Leave

  • To the extent practicable, employees must provide 10 days’ advanced written notice to their employers of the need to take paid-leave.

  • If the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide oral or written notification to their employers before the start of the work shift for which paid leave is being used.

  • In the case of an emergency, the employee, or another individual on behalf of the employee, must notify the employer of the need for leave within 48 hours of the emergency occurring.

  • Upon the occurrence of a qualifying event, employees may file a claim for paid leave benefits with the Department of Employment Services.

We will continue to monitor the regulations and provide any further updates once they are finalized.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

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About this Author

Jenna Mennona, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Washington DC, Labor and Employment Law Attorney
Associate

Jenna Mennona is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Areas of Practice

Ms. Mennona’s practice focuses primarily on defending management in employment matters, including discrimination and harassment claims under Title VII, disability claims, and other employment related matters brought before state and federal agencies and courts.

Ms. Mennona also counsels and advises employers on a wide range of day-to-day employment...

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