Be Part of the Ultimate Safety & Compliance Community
Trending news, knowledge-building content, and more – all personalized to you!
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not require payment for time not worked, nor does it regulate vacation pay, holiday pay, or other paid time off. These types of benefits are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s representative). Employers, however, do need to comply with applicable state laws.
The D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 applies to legal entities that employ at least one employee. Employers include joint employers, such as those that use temporary staffing agencies.
D.C. employers need to provide paid sick leave to eligible employees. The term “employee” does not include independent contractors; students; health care workers who choose to participate in a premium pay program; volunteers with educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations; laypersons who work for religious organizations; or casual babysitters who work in an employer’s residence.
The term “employee” does include temporary employees as well as restaurant and bar employees who regularly receive tips.
Employees are generally those employed by you, including temporary employees. There are some exceptions, such as independent contractors; however, there is no real eligibility criteria. The employee must accrue leave before taking it.
Employees accrue paid leave according to your established pay period, and begin accruing upon employment. Employees may begin to access their accrued paid leave after 90 days of service. If an employee completes 90 days of service, is discharged, but then returns within 12 months, he or she may access paid leave immediately upon return.
If an employee does not use accrued paid leave during a 12-month period, it is carried over annually. Employees cannot use more than the maximum allowed in one year, unless the employer chooses otherwise.
Unused, accrued paid leave need not be reimbursed upon termination or resignation.
Employees may, if the employer agrees, choose to work additional hours or shifts during the same or next pay period in lieu of hours or shifts missed. In this situation, the employee may not use paid leave as long as the extra work was not required by the employer.
If an employee doesn't lose income because of an absence, you need not provide paid leave. For example, if an exempt employee takes time off but does not lose any wages because of the absence, he would not be able to take paid, accrued leave. The employee would need to suffer a loss of income in order to take advantage of paid leave under this law.
The amount of leave an employee may take depends upon how many employees are working for a particular company.
An employer with 100 or more employees must provide one hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked, not to exceed seven days per calendar year.
An employer with at least 25 but not more than 99 employees must provide one hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked, not to exceed five days per calendar year.
An employer with 24 or fewer employees must provide one hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked, not to exceed three days per calendar year.
An employer with a paid leave policy, such as a paid time-off program or universal leave policy, is not required to modify the policy if it allows employees to accrue and use leave under terms and conditions that are at least equivalent to the paid leave prescribed in this act.
Determine the number of employees by looking at the average monthly number of full-time equivalent employees for the previous calendar year. Calculate the average monthly number by adding the total monthly full-time equivalent employees for each month and dividing by 12.
Leave taken under the DC Accrued Safe and Sick leave may run concurrently with other leaves, as long as all parameters are met for each law.
Paid leave may be used by an employee for an absence:
Paid leave shall be provided upon the written request of an employee upon notice. The request shall include a reason for the absence involved and the expected duration of the paid leave. If the paid leave is foreseeable, the request shall be provided at least 10 days, or as early as possible, in advance. If the paid leave is unforeseeable, an oral request for paid leave shall be provided prior to the start of the work shift for which the paid leave is requested. In the case of an emergency, the employer shall be notified prior to the start of the next work shift or within 24 hours of the onset of the emergency, whichever occurs sooner.
An employer may require that paid leave for three or more consecutive days be supported by reasonable certification. Reasonable certification may include:
If certification is required, the employee shall provide a copy of the certification to the employer upon the employee’s return to work.
Employers must post and maintain in a conspicuous place a notice that sets forth excerpts from or summarizes the pertinent provisions of the law and information that pertains to the filing of a complaint. The mayor is to provide this notice to employers. No liability for failure to post notice will arise if the mayor has failed to provide the notice.
Employers are to keep related records for at least three years.
The District of Columbia requires that for grand jury or petit jury service of five days or less, employers with 10 or more employees must pay full-time employees their usual wage, minus any jury duty fees paid to that employee.
The District of Columbia law requires state government employees to be paid their normal wages while serving jury duty.
In the District of Columbia, if employers allow employees up to 30 days paid leave to serve as organ donors and up to seven days paid leave to serve as bone marrow donors without loss or reduction in any medical, personal credit for time or service or other paid leave provided, the employer will be allowed a tax credit. The credit can be up to 25 percent of the regular salary paid during the taxable year for the leave of absence.
The District of Columbia does not require vacation pay. However, if an employer chooses to provide paid time off benefits, it must follow the terms and conditions established in its policy.
Eligible employees may take off up to 24 hours during the leave year to attend school-related events. To be eligible, the employee must be the natural parent, guardian, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or have custody of the child. Those married to the above-mentioned people are also included. Employees are also entitled to a day of leave each year on April 16, the District of Columbia Emancipation Day.
Employees must notify their employer of the desire for leave to attend a school-related event or to celebrate the District of Columbia Emancipation Day at least 10 calendar days in advance, unless, in the case of a school event, the need to attend the school-related event cannot be reasonably foreseen.
Employers must post and maintain in a conspicuous place a notice that sets forth excerpts from or summarizes the law requirements.
The Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 applies to all employers in D.C. regardless of size. It requires employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for an employee whose ability to perform the functions of the job is limited by pregnancy, childbirth, a related medical condition, or breastfeeding. Such accommodations could include leave.
Such leave could be taken for recovery from childbirth. Employers need not, however, provide an accommodation that would cause an undue hardship. This would be any action that requires significant difficulty in the operation of the employer’s business or significant expense in relation to factors such as the size of the business, its financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation. The employer would have the burden of establishing that providing a particular accommodation would pose an undue hardship.
Other accommodations include the following:
Employers need to engage in a good faith, timely, interactive process with an employee requesting or otherwise needing a reasonable accommodation, to identify such an accommodation.
Employers may require an employee to provide certification from the employee’s health care provider concerning the medical advisability of a reasonable accommodation. This requirement needs to be the same as is required for other temporary disabilities. It must include the following:
There is no set limit as to how much leave an employee may take, and an employer may not require an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.
Employees are entitled to be reinstated to their original job or an equivalent one when the need for reasonable accommodation ceases. This would entail equivalent pay, accumulated seniority and retirement, benefits, and other applicable service credit.
Employers need to post a notice, in English and Spanish, of the rights related to this provision, and also provide a notice of these rights to:
The Office of Human Rights has provided a poster that would comply with these requirements.
Employers who are required to pay D.C. unemployment insurance taxes are covered by the D.C. universal paid leave (UPL, a.k.a. PFL) provisions.
Employees are entitled to the benefits if they spend more than 50 percent of their time working in the District. Employees of companies with under 20 employees are not, however, guaranteed job protection.
Eligible employees are entitled to take leave for the following reasons:
Effective 10/1/22, employees are entitled to take 12 weeks of PFL for parental/bonding, family care, or the employee's own condition, with an additional two weeks for prenatal care.
Leave taken under the PFL can run concurrently with leave under the D.C. Family Medical Leave Act or the federal FMLA — assuming the employee is otherwise eligible and the reason qualifies.
The benefits are funded by employers paying a certain percent of wages to the Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund.
Upon a qualifying event, an employee files a claim for benefits.
Benefits are based on a percentage of earnings, but may be capped at $1,000 per week. Since 10/21/2021, the cap is indexed to inflation.
The District of Columbia does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide employees either paid or unpaid leave to vote.
Title 7 of the DC Municipal Regulations, Chapter 32, Accrued Safe and Sick Leave