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*NEW* COVID-19 Leave Under DCFMLA

This webpage was last updated on January 14, 2022.

In 2020 and 2021, through a series of legislative acts, the D.C. Council amended the DC Family Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA), adding a form of leave known as “COVID-19 Leave.”  This leave ran from March 11, 2020, through November 5, 2021 (“Original COVID-19 Leave”).  OHR’s guidance on the Original COVID-19 leave can be found here and below, under "Resources". 

On November 18, 2021, the Mayor 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, the Mayor also signed the COVID Vaccination Leave Temporary Act of 2021.  This guidance (No. 22-01) is confined to the New COVID-19 Leave, which began on November 5, 2021.


  1. Starting November 5, 2021, an employee who has worked for 30 days for an employer with 20 or more employees in the District may use up to 16 weeks of New COVID-19 Leave (D.C. Code § 32-502.01, version approved November 18, 2021) for one of the following reasons:
    1. 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
    2. Isolation or Quarantine – if the employee has a recommendation from a health care provider or a directive from an employer that the employee isolate or quarantine 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
    3. 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 health care provider, or the order or policy of the family member’s or individual’s school or childcare provider
    4. 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.
  2. Certification – An employer may request reasonable certification of the need, such as:
    1. Dated test result
    2. Health care provider signed and dated statement
    3. Copy of Department of Health guidance and documentation demonstrating need to comply
    4. Copy of childcare facility policy or written statement from the facility.
  3. Advance Notice – An employee must provide advance notice where possible, or otherwise as soon as possible after a need to take leave arises.
  4. Unpaid Leave – New COVID-19 Leave is unpaid, but an employee may use accrued paid leave, which counts against the 16-week entitlement.
  5. 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.
  6. Effective Dates – New COVID-19 Leave is available starting November 5, 2021.


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