Update: The District’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act has been amended to clarify that employees in the building and construction industry covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement will be exempted from the law’s paid leave requirements only if the agreement expressly waives those requirements in clear and unambiguous terms. The amendment was enacted on April 26, 2016 and expires on July 24, 2016.

The District of Columbia’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act generally requires employers to provide to each employee paid leave to be used by the employee for any of the following:

  • An absence resulting from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee or of a family member.
  • An absence resulting from obtaining a professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventive medical care, for the employee or a family member.
  • An absence if the employee or the employee’s family member is a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse, if the absence is directly related to social or legal services pertaining to the stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse, in order to:
    • Seek medical attention for the employee or the employee’s family member to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic violence or sexual abuse;
    • Obtain services from a victim services organization;
    • Obtain psychological or other counseling;
    • Temporarily or permanently relocate;
    • Take legal action, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from the domestic violence or sexual abuse; or
    • Take other actions to enhance the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member or to enhance the safety of those who associate or work with the employee.

Accrual of paid leave is determined by the number of employees an employer has and the number of hours the employee works.

  • An employer with 100 or more employeesmust provide for each employee at least one hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked (not to exceed 7 days per calendar year).
  • An employer with 25 to 99 employeesmust provide for each employee at least one hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked (not to exceed 5 days per calendar year).
  • An employer with 24 or fewer employeesmust provide at least one hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked (not to exceed 3 days per calendar year).

For the purposes of the bullets above, the number of employees of an employer is determined by the average monthly number of full-time equivalent employees for the prior calendar year. The average monthly number is calculated by adding the total monthly full-time equivalent employees for each month and dividing by 12.

In the case of employees who are exempt from overtime payment under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employees will not accrue leave for hours worked beyond a 40-hour work week.

Unused paid leave accrued in one calendar year must be carried over to the next calendar year.

Update: The District of Columbia’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act has been amended. Key provisions from the amendments include the following:

  • An employeewill generally accrue paid leave at the beginning of his or her employment, and an employee may begin to access paid leave after 90 days of service with his or her employer (the law previously required employees to work for an employer for one year and work at least 1,000 hours during the year to be eligible for leave).
  • Coverage is expanded to include certain tipped employees in restaurants or bars (special rules apply to such employees).
  • Employers must retain records documenting hours worked by employees and paid leave taken by employees for a period of 3 years.
    • Note: The definition of “employer” has been expanded to include entities who directly or indirectly (including through the services of a temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity) employ or exercise control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of an employee.

The amendments are effective as of February 22, 2014. Click here for more information.

Employer Notice and Recordkeeping

Employers must conspicuously post and maintain a notice which displays excerpts and summaries of the law and contains information regarding the filing of complaints asserting violations of the law. The notice must be in English and all languages spoken by eligible employees with limited or no-English proficiency.

Employers must maintain records of the accrual, granting and denial of leave for 3 years.

For more information, please see DC Code §32-131.01 – 131.17.

Employee Notice

  • An employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule paid leave under the law in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations.
  • Paid leave must be provided upon the written request of an employee upon notice in the following manner:
    • The request must include a reasonfor the absence involved and the expected duration of the paid leave.
    • If the paid leave is foreseeable, the request must be provided at least 10 days, or as early as possible, in advance of the paid leave.
    • If the paid leave is unforeseeable, an oral request for paid leave must be provided prior to the start of the work shift for which the paid leave is requested.
    • In the case of an emergency, the employer must be notified prior to the start of the next work shift or within 24 hours of the onset of the emergency, whichever occurs sooner.

Originally published by HR360.com

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