Preparing for the DC Paid Family Leave Act: What Employers Need to Know

This summer, DC’s new Paid Family Leave (PFL) law will make employees eligible for expanded benefits.

But first, employers must let their employees know what the new law entails by posting the recently released DC PFL Employee Notice in a conspicuous place in the workplace beginning February 1, 2020.

Notice shall also be provided, electronically or physically:

  1. To all employees at least once per year beginning in 2020;
  2. At the time of hiring for all new employees hired after February 1, 2020; and
  3. To any individual employee after February 1, 2020 when the employer receives notice from that employee of the employee’s need for leave for an event that might qualify for PFL benefits.

What does the law entail?

Under the PFL law, the District has been collecting taxes from employers to fund the PFL program since July 1, 2019. The PFL program grants employees paid time off for qualifying parental, family, and medical events beginning on July 1, 2020. Employees must apply for the benefit and benefit determinations and payments are issued to employees directly from the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

An employee is limited to eight weeks of PFL per year. This can include any combination of the following for which the employee qualifies:

  1. Parental leave: to bond with a new child for up to eight weeks in a year;
  2. Family leave: to care for a family member for up to six weeks in a year; and
  3. Medical leave: for an employee’s own serious health condition for up to two weeks in a year.

Beginning July 1, 2020 through October 1, 2021, the maximum weekly benefit amount per employee taking PFL is limited to $1,000.

Pursuant to the regulations, employers may implement a policy to prevent employees from receiving more than 100% wage replacement by receiving PFL and paid time off through the employer.

The PFL law does not provide job protection to employees taking PFL. However, retaliation against an employee who applies for or receives PFL is prohibited.

The recently published notice covers all of these points and can be accessed here.

For more information, contact one of our employment attorneys.