As of July 2020, employees in DC can take paid family leave. This forms part of the DC Paid Family Leave Act, often shortened to DC FMLA.
For employers and employees, the passing of this act has led to a lot of significant changes in the workplace. There has been a lot of confusion over what the new rules and regulations are when it comes to paid family leave entitlements.
If you are also feeling confused and hesitant about the DC FMLA, this article should make things much clearer. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about the new Family and Medical Leave legislation.
Eligible Leave for Employees
For employees who work in DC for at least half of their total work time, they are now eligible for the following paid leave:
- Up to eight weeks of paid parental leave, which must be taken within the first 52 weeks following the birth of the baby, date of adoption, or date of foster care placement
- Up to two weeks of paid medical leave for employees who are suffering from a serious health condition
- Up to six weeks of paid family leave if required to care for a family member who is suffering from a serious health condition
These conditions are not dependent on one another. An employee can take parental, family, and medical leave all in one 52-week period if necessary. However, the combined total of leave within this time period should not exceed eight weeks. Paid family leave can be taken intermittently.
Part of the DC FMLA is the paid family leave benefits package that is now available to all workers within the area. The DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) has used a sliding scale to use is a sliding scale to determine the specific benefits for each employee.
This sliding scale is based on the employee’s reported wages prior to the event that has caused them to require paid leave. More specifically, it is the highest wages earned during four out of five calendar quarters that are used to assess an employee’s benefits package.
The total wages earned in these four quarters gets divided by 52 to determine the employee’s average weekly wage. For paid family leave, the employee will receive 90% of this average weekly wage, which is limited to $1000.
The Application Process for Paid Family Leave and Other Benefits
Employees can apply for paid family leave benefits via the DOES website. They will need to provide a range of information, including identification and reasoning for their claim.
Once this application has been received by the DOES, the employee’s employer will be notified. Within 10 days of the application being submitted, the DOES will make a decision and will notify the employee.
If approved, the DOES will send the relevant information to the employee regarding the conditions of paid family or medical leave. This will usually include the dates that the leave will begin and end, whether the leave is continuous or intermittent, and any approved weekly benefits.