Although there are common elements to the many PFL regulations, there are also differences in the way each state designs its plan and coordinates it with other leave types. Here’s what you need to know about in Washington D.C.
Paid Family Leave
Washington D.C.’s paid family leave program allows eligible, private-sector employees paid time off for:
- Bonding with a new child (within 12 months of birth or placement of child via foster care or adoption)
- Caring for a family member who is diagnosed with a serious health condition
- Caring for their own serious health condition.
Covered family members include: spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, parents-in-law, stepparents, legal guardians, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. Parent-child relationships include biological, adoptive, foster, stepparent/stepchild, de facto and loco parentis.
Benefits are payable beginning July 1, 2020, with premium collection starting July 1, 2019.
All Washington D.C. employers who are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes are required to participate. Self-employed individuals may choose to opt into the program.
An employee is eligible if during the 52 weeks immediately preceding the qualifying event, he or she meets one of the following requirements:
- He or she has worked for a covered employer and spends more than 50% of his or her work time for that employer working in the District of Columbia; or
- Regularly spends a substantial amount of his or her work time for that covered employer in the District of Columbia and not more than 50% of his or her work time for that covered employer in another jurisdiction; or
- Is a self-employed individual who has opted into the paid-leave and earned self-employment income for work performed more than 50% of the time in the District of Columbia.
Washington D.C.'s paid family leave benefits are funded by a quarterly employer payroll tax of 0.62% of their covered employees’ total wages.
The law will provide employees up to eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of leave to take care of a family member, and two weeks to care for their own serious health condition. The benefit amount varies, based on the following criteria:
- If the employee earns a weekly wage less than or equal to 150% of D.C.’s minimum wage multiplied by 40, the weekly benefit is 90% of the employee’s weekly wage.
- If the employee earns a weekly wage greater than 150% of D.C.’s minimum wage multiplied by 40, the weekly benefit is 90% of the previously calculated value, plus 50% of the employee’s weekly wage that exceeds 150% of D.C.’s minimum wage multiplied by 40; provided, that no eligible individual shall be entitled to payment of paid-leave benefits at a rate in excess of the maximum weekly benefit amount.
Yes, Washington D.C.'s paid leave may be taken intermittently, and the leave must be taken in 1-day increments. For the purposes of the paid-leave program, 1-day means the average number of hours an eligible individual worked in a shift during their base period.
The Washington D.C. Paid Family Leave program does not provide job protection beyond what is covered under D.C. FMLA.