DC’s Universal Paid Leave Act was officially passed by City Council in 2016, but now the Act’s implementation is starting to make an impact on local employers. Here is what you need to know about the Universal Paid Leave Act and how it could effect your business.
What does the law mean?
Employees who are covered by the Act are eligible for up to 8 weeks of Parental Paid Leave, up to 6 weeks of Family Paid Leave, and up to 2 weeks of Medical Paid Leave. Only one qualifying paid leave event is covered per each 52-workweek period.
Why are we just starting to see the impact now?
After getting passed by the DC City Council in late 2016, the Act officially took effect on April 7, 2017, but it wasn’t until July 1st of 2019 that employers were required to start paying into the fund. Starting July 1st of 2020, employees will be able to benefit from the leave compensation provided by the fund.
Who does it include?
This act is meant to serve employees who spend greater than 50% of their work time within the District of Columbia, even if their employer does not have a physical address within the city. This applies to anyone covered by their employer for some or all of the past 52 weeks leading up to the event for which the leave is being taken.
Do you have to have a baby?
Not exactly. Employees are eligible for parental paid leave within a year after the birth of a child, but also upon the placement of a child for adoption or foster care and in other cases in which the employee assumes legal parental responsibility. Employees can also receive up to 6 weeks of Family Paid Leave to provide care or companionship to a family member with a serious health condition and up to two weeks of Medical Paid Leave for a health condition of their own.
How will this affect my bottom line?
Beginning this July, a 0.62% payroll tax was implemented to be collected from all Washington, DC employers on a quarterly basis. Through this collection, the DOES (DC Department of Employment Services) will create separate funds for each employer and the employer will be notified by the within 3 days after an employee has filed a claim for paid leave. As an employer, you should make sure that your payroll system is prepared to handle this additional tax and review your paid leave policy to consider whether it is consistent with the Universal Paid Leave Act.