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D.C. Employer? Find Out What You Need To Do To Comply With Paid Family Leave NOW

Author: Ginny Cascio Bonifacino Date: 06/28/2019

Categories: Employment Law & Litigation

On July 1, 2019, the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 went into effect and applies to all employers, who have employees that work at least fifty percent (50%) of their time in the District of Columbia or work substantially in the District of Columbia and do not work more than 50% of their time in another jurisdiction (“Covered Employees”).  This law will grant Paid Family Leave to Covered Employees. It is important to take steps to comply now with this new law. There are two important dates to remember as this law is being implemented in stages. 

First Deadline: July 1, 2019

Beginning on July 1, 2019, all employers, who have Covered Employees, must begin to pay the Paid Family Leave payroll tax.  The employer pays a quarterly payroll tax of 0.62% of their Covered Employees’ total wages. This will be collected through a similar process as unemployment tax.  

What to do now?

  • Talk to your payroll company about how to collect this additional tax and ensure there are processes in place to pay the tax. 
  • Ensure that you post the District of Columbia’s notice of Paid Family Leave at your office for your employees to view.  

Second Deadline: July 1, 2020

Beginning on July 1, 2020, Covered Employees may begin to use Paid Family Leave for qualified events.  In a fifty-two week period, an employee may take up to eight weeks for parental leave, which includes the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child with the employee; up to six weeks for leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition; or up to two weeks for leave to care for the employee’s own serious health condition.  

When an employee requests this leave, the employer’s obligation is to give the employee this time off.  However, there is no requirement that the employer protect the employee’s job during this time. If the employee also qualifies for D.C. Family and Medical Leave or the Federal Family and Medical Leave, then the Paid Family Leave will run concurrently and the employee will be entitled to job restoration.  

It is important to note that although the leave is called “Paid Family Leave,” the employer is not required to pay the employee when they take this leave.  Instead, the employee applies to the District of Columbia for payment during their leave. They will receive a portion of their wages during their leave, based on the formula in the law.  It is similar to the unemployment process and will be funded by the Paid Family Leave payroll taxes.

What to do before July 1, 2020?

  • Review and update your Employee Handbook to ensure your leave policies reflect this new leave. 

If you have any questions about this article and need more information about complying with District of Columbia’s Paid Family Leave, please feel free to contact me at 240-778-2315 or gcbonifacino@mcmillanmetro.comMy areas of practice include employment, intellectual property, artist’s rights, corporate and business law.