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25 Jan

District of Columbia COVID-19 Paid Leave Extended

Posted at

8:42pm

in

Update Applicable to:
All employers with 20 or more employees in the District of Columbia

What happened?
On December 22, 2021, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed temporary legislation extending COVID-19 Paid Leave.

What are the details?
On November 18, 2021, Mayor Bowser signed the COVID Vaccination Leave Emergency Act of 2021, D.C. Act 24-209, D.C. Code § 32-502.01, which amended the Original COVID-19 Leave provision and created a new COVID-19 Leave to take effect November 5, 2021 (New COVID-19 Leave).

On December 22, 2021, Mayor Bowser also signed the COVID Vaccination Leave TemporaryAct of 2021. This guidance is confined to the New COVID-19 Leave, which began on November 5, 2021.

Although published in the D.C. Register, the temporary legislation is in a 30-day congressional review period under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. The anticipated effective date is February 18, 2022. Once approved by Congress, the temporary legislation will expire after 225 days (October 1, 2022). The 225 days will allow sufficient time for permanent legislation to be enacted.

Key Provisions of the New COVID-19 Leave:

  1. Starting November 5, 2021, an employee who has worked for 30 days for an employer with 20 or more employees in the District of Columbia may use up to 16 weeks of New COVID-19 Leave (D.C. Code § 32-502.01, the version approved November 18, 2021) for one of the following reasons:
    • Positive Test Result: If the employee tested positive for COVID-19 or is caring for a family member or individual with whom the employee shares a household who has tested positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine pursuant to Department of Health guidelines.
    • Isolation or Quarantine: If the employee has a recommendation from a healthcare provider or a directive from an employer that the employee isolates or quarantines due to COVID-19, including because the employee or an individual with whom the employee shares a household is at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19.
    • Care for Other: If the employee must care for a family member or an individual with whom the employee shares a household, who is isolating or quarantining pursuant to Department of Health guidance, the recommendation of a healthcare provider, or the order or policy of the family member’s or individual’s school or childcare provider.
    • Childcare Closure: If the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable to the employee due to COVID-19.
  1. Certification: An employer may request reasonable certification of the need, such as:
    • Dated test result
    • Healthcare provider signed and dated statement
    • Copy of Department of Health guidance and documentation demonstrating need to comply
    • Copy of childcare facility policy or written statement from the facility.
  1. Advance Notice: An employee must provide advance notice where possible, or otherwise as soon as possible after a need to take leave arises.
  1. Unpaid Leave: New COVID-19 Leave is unpaid, but an employee may use accrued paid leave, which counts against the 16-week entitlement.
  1. Penalties: A violation of COVID-19 leave provisions could result in a fine of $1,000 per offense, as well as damages outlined in D.C. Code § 32-509.
  1. Effective Dates: New COVID-19 Leave is available starting November 5, 2021.

For more information, please see the links below:

Legislation B24-0405

District of Columbia Article

COVID-19 Leave Poster

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and ensure their current COVID-19 policies are aligned with the New COVID-19 Leave.

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