August 2021 District of Colombia HR Legal Updates

Washington D.C. Extends COVID-19 Leave Laws

Update Applicable to:
Employers in Washington D.C.

What happened?
On July 24, 2021, Mayor Bowser signed D.C. Emergency Act 24-125 into law.

What are the details?
The act, effective immediately, extends the enacted COVID-19 Leave laws that were due to expire on July 25, 2021. With the act, these laws are now active through November 5, 2021. With this, requirements like the following are still in effect:

  • All D.C. employers must provide employees who have been employed for at least 30 days with up to 16 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave if the employee is unable to work due to specified reasons related to COVID-19, including a health care provider’s recommendation of quarantine or isolation for the employee or a household member for whom the employee needs to care, school closures, and the unavailability of the employee’s child care provider.
  • D.C. employers with between 50 and 499 employees must also provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees employed for at least 15 days for any of the reasons for which federal paid leave was available under the now-expired Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The act can be read here.

An article on the act can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the emergency act to continue the mandated leave and stay compliant with their leave policies.

September 2020 District of Columbia HR Legal Updates

Upcoming Voter Rights Notice Requirement

The Leave to Vote Amendment Act of 2020, passed June 24, 2020, has a requirement of employers to post a notice educating employees about their voter leave rights. This notice is to be supplied by the District of Columbia Board of Elections, sometime before the November elections. The Board has yet to supply the notice. They have also not provided an ETA on when employers should be expecting to see it, other than before the November elections.

The DC Board of Elections’ forms and resources can be found here.

July 2020 Washington, D.C. HR Legal Updates

D.C Expands Face Mask Requirement – Mandates Employer-Provided Masks

What happened?
Washington, D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a Mayoral Order, effective immediately, expanding face mask requirements.

What are the details?
New face masks requirements have been issued in a Mayoral Order by Mayor Bowser. These requirements include:

  • Employers will need to provide masks to workers in Washington, D.C.
    • Individuals leaving their residence will need to wear a mask when they are likely to encounter other people.
    • Places of business open to the public must put up signs noting that persons not wearing masks will not be allowed to enter.

Violations of the order can incur up to a $1,000 fine per violation. The Metropolitan Police Department is authorized to enforce these rules. No youth under the age of 18 will be charged with a violation.

The full order can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Washington, D.C. will need to immediately begin supplying employees with masks. If the workplace is open to the public, they should create and post signage about entry being barred for individuals not wearing masks.

June 2020 Washington, D.C. HR Legal Updates

D.C. Paid Family Leave Available July 1

What happened?
Washington, D.C. passed a law on February 17, 2017, to provide paid family leave to employees effective July 1, 2020.

What are the details?
Starting July 1, 2020 employers will need to accommodate employees taking their government provided paid leaves. Employers are entitled to the following paid leaves from the D.C. government:

  • Up to eight weeks per year to bond with a new child
  • Up to six weeks per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition
    • Up to two weeks per year to care for the employee’s own serious health condition

For a more detailed breakdown of what steps employers should have taken leading up to July 1, 2020, click here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers need to maintain records relating to the employee leaves for a minimum of three years. They will still need to report quarterly payroll contributions to the Department of Employment Services. Every year employers will need to provide a notice to all employees regarding their rights to Paid Family Leave. If the employer becomes aware of an employee who may need to use the Paid Family Leave they must provide a copy of the notice to the employee.

The notice is available online, click here.

March 2020 District of Columbia HR Legal Updates

Amended D.C.’s FMLA Statute

What happened?
The District of Columbia Council and Mayor signed a bill providing leave for employee related to COVID-19.

What are the details?
Employees may take time off for a “Declaration of Emergency Leave” when unable to work if the government or medical professional has recommended (or mandated) self-quarantine or isolation.

This law applies to employers of any size, and there is no eligibility period beyond being an active employee. This leave can be taken for the duration of the public health emergency.

This leave in unpaid and staff will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

What do employers need to do?
Comply with the information listed above.