The Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (the “Act”), which implements the District of Columbia’s new Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) program, kicks-in for employees on July 1, 2020. However, employers must post a PFL notice in the workplace no later than February 1, 2020.
The Act provides PFL to covered employees (generally employees whose work is primarily or substantially performed in D.C.) to bond with children, or care for themselves or family members with serious health conditions (a “Qualifying Event”). Employees are entitled to:
- 8 weeks to bond with a new child
- 6 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition
- 2 weeks to care for their own serious health condition
The Act covers employers with at least one employee working in D.C. and, as of July 1, 2019, covered employers have been taxed 0.62% of the wages paid to covered employees to create a fund from which PFL benefits will be paid. Paid leave benefits are ninety percent of average weekly compensation, capped at $1,000 per week.
Importantly, covered employers were required to post PFL notice at their worksites by no later than February 1, 2020. Failure to comply with this posting requirement subjects an employer to a fine of $100 for each day that PFL notice is not conspicuously displayed at each worksite.
In addition, PFL notice must be provided in electronic or written form to:
- Covered employees at the time of hiring;
- To a covered employee when the employer receives direct notice that the employee needs leave for a Qualifying Event; and
- To all covered employees at least once between February 1, 2020 and February 1, 2021, and at least once a year thereafter.
As with posting, failure to give written or electronic PFL notice subjects an employer to a fine—$100 for each covered employee who did not receive individual notice.
The D.C. Department of Employment Services (“DOES”) determines whether employees are eligible for PFL and will make payments, similar to the manner in which unemployment compensation works. Employees are eligible as soon as they start work, but will not be able to receive payments until their employer has made at least one quarterly payment to the fund with the employee seeking paid leave listed.
Employers with employees who perform work in D.C. should ensure that they comply with these notice requirements to avoid unnecessary and easily avoidable fines. If they have not already, employers should immediately post PFL notice alongside other required labor law posters. The required PFL notice, provided by DOES, can be found in six different languages here. Additionally, D.C. employers should ensure that employees are given individual PFL notice in accordance with the individual notice requirements listed above.