Both Employees and Employers Benefit from Revisions to Washington, D.C. Paid Leave Law

Just two years after the enactment of Universal Paid Family Leave Act, it appears that thousands of private-sector employees in Washington, D.C. will receive a substantial increase in the annual amount of paid leave to which they are entitled. At the same time, D.C. employers will receive a significant tax cut to the amount they are required to pay to fund this program.Retro,Styled,Alarm,Clock,Covered,Pile,Of,Money,Isolated,On

The Universal Paid Family Leave Act, which took effect in July 2020, allows eligible D.C. employees to take up to (i) eight weeks for parental leave; (ii) six weeks for family medical leave; and (iii) six weeks for personal medical leave.  This program, which is funded through employer-paid taxes, has cost less than previously forecast and now has excess funds. 

As a result, in a letter sent last week to Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D.C.’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Fitzroy Lee stated that by as early as July 1, 2022, employees will now receive (i) twelve weeks for parental leave; (ii) twelve weeks for family medical leave; and (iii) twelve weeks for personal medical leave. In other words, eligible employees will now be able to take double the amount of paid leave for family medical leave and personal medical leave, and 66% more parental leave, than they currently receive. Eligible employees also will now be entitled to a new benefit of two weeks of paid prenatal leave, which was not previously available.

Employees will not be the sole beneficiary to the changes to the Universal Paid Family Leave Act.  Because of the excess funds currently available, the private employers who pay for this leave program will Continue reading

D.C. Paid Family Leave Law Takes Effect

Effective today, July 1, 2020, eligible employees in the District of Columbia (“DC”) will be entitled to paid leave up to a designated period depending on the qualifying leave event.DC Flag for Blog  Here, we review and highlight important aspects of DC’s Paid Family Leave law.  For additional discussion on the DC Paid Family Leave law and frequently asked questions, please also see our prior post.

Covered Events and Applicable Leave Periods

The DC Paid Family Leave law provides leave benefits to eligible employees for three types of leave: (1) parental leave; (2) family leave; and (3) medical leave. Continue reading

Paid Family Leave Bill Introduced by D.C. City Council

By:  Kara M. Maciel and Daniel Deacon

health-care-costs-2The D.C. City Council is introducing a bill that will give almost every employee in the nation’s capital 16 weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, to recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment, or to tend to an ill family member.  If the proposed bill is passed, Washington D.C. will become the most generous place in the United States for an employee to take time off for family leave.

The legislation would more than double the length of any paid-leave program in the United States.  In fact, only Rhode Island, New Jersey, and California guarantee paid family leave for working residents.  Thus, D.C.’s plan is a big step toward matching policies that have already been enacted by some private employers and other countries.

Under the proposed legislation, employers would be required to pay into a city-managed fund on a per-employee basis.  For those earning up to $52,000, the fund would pay 100 percent of the employee’s pay.  The family and medical leave benefits would equal 100 percent of the eligible employee’s average weekly wages up to $1,000 per week.  For employees who earn over $52,000 per year, the benefits would equal $1,000 plus 50 percent of the employee’s average earnings above that amount, up to a maximum benefit of $3,000 per week.

The proposed legislation would have a significant impact on employers of all sizes and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce raised concerns about the bill in a letter sent to Councilmember David Grosso – a co-sponsor of the proposed legislation.  The Chamber of Commerce worries that the bill would have a negative impact on the local economy, stating that “the bill would be unprecedented and make the District of Columbia dangerously uncompetitive at a time when the District is trying to compete for every job it can get.”

The proposed legislation drastically changes D.C.’s current Family and Medical Leave law that permits a covered employee to use a total of 16 unpaid work weeks of family leave during any 24-month period.  Given the significant financial impact that the proposed legislation will have on employers both big and small, this is an important piece of legislation for all D.C. employers to follow.  If the legislation is passed, employers should implement a system to provide timely notice to its employees of their rights under the new law.  A covered employer who violates the notice requirements will be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each covered employee and $100 for each day that the covered employer fails to post the notice in a conspicuous place.

We will keep our readers apprised of the legislation as it moves through the City Council.