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DCFMLA during COVID-19

On March 17, 2020, the Mayor signed the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act (CREA), which temporarily amends the DCFMLA to expand DCFMLA coverage for employees working in the District of Columbia. It is important to note that Congress recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which requires certain employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons. For guidance under FFCRA, see the United States Department of Labor’s website at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/ pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave.


  1. Waiver of Certain Requirements (D.C. Code § 32-501(1)): During a public health emergency declared by the Mayor, when requesting leave under the DCFMLA, an employee need not have worked for the employer for 1,000 hours in the past year or have one year of continuous service, if the employee has been ordered or recommended to self-quarantine or isolate by a medical professional, the Department of Health, or other District or federal agency.
  2. Creation of “Declaration of Emergency” (DOE) Leave (D.C. Code § 32-502.01): A new section is added to the DCFMLA providing that during a public health emergency declared by the Mayor, if an employee is unable to work due to the circumstances giving rise to the public health emergency, the employee may request for “declaration of emergency” leave during the declared public health emergency period.
  3. Applicability for DOE Leave (D.C. Code § 32-516): During a public health emergency declared by the Mayor, for the DOE leave, the benefit applies to employees working for an employer of any size (1 or more employees in the District of Columbia).
  4. Certification (D.C. Code § 32-502.01): For DOE Leave, recommendation from the Mayor, Department of Health, medical professional, or other District or federal agency that the employee self-quarantine or isolate is sufficient; for government mandated quarantine or isolation, the declaration of public health emergency shall serve as certification.
  5. Effective Dates: CREA was signed by the Mayor on March 17, 2020 and its provisions amending the DCFMLA will expire 90 days after the Mayor’s signature. Therefore, the law is effective as of March 17, 2020 and will expire on June 15, 2020. All other provisions of the DCFMLA remain in effect.


For the latest updates on the District's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit coronavirus.dc.gov.