Earlier this year, Washington D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 came into effect (on April 7, to be exact). Under this act, employees are entitled to 90% of their regular pay while taking covered leave. The money is to come from employer contributions equal to .62% of employees’ wages.
Under the new paid leave act, eligible individuals can request paid leave following certain qualifying events, subject to a one-week waiting period during which time no benefits are payable. Those who qualify as eligible individuals are
- -Those who have been “covered employees” during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event
- -Self-employed individuals who have opted into the paid leave program who also spent at least 50% of their work time in D.C. during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event.
The new paid leave act provides “eligible individuals” up to eight weeks of paid leave each year. This time may be taken intermittently and it may include any combination of
- 1. Up to eight weeks of parental leave
- -This must be taken within one year of the birth of a child, the placement of an adopted or foster child, or the assumption of legal guardianship of a child
- 2. Up to six weeks of family leave
- -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of a family member’s serious health condition
- 3. Up to two weeks of personal medical leave
- -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of the employee’s serious health condition
Under the act, “serious health conditions” include physical or mental illnesses, injuries, or impairments that require inpatient care, continuing health care-related treatment, or supervision at home.
Recommendations for Employers
It’s been recommended that D.C. area employers should continue to monitor developments related to the act over the coming months and years. While the act and its regulations were enacted this year, employees will not be able to claim benefits under the act until July 1, 2020. Employers should also review their leave policies to ensure compliance with new regulations as they’re published.