Passed by the DC Council in 2016, the Universal Paid Family Leave Amendment Act provides a new employment benefit which allows private sector employees in the District of Columbia to receive paid leave when taking the following types of leave: up to eight weeks to bond with a child (including adopted or foster children), six weeks to care for a sick family member with a serious health condition, and two weeks of personal medical care. Employees are eligible as long as they spend 50 percent of their time physically working in the District.
Employers are required to post a notice of the benefits under this law including entitlement to pay for certain types of leave, complaint process, and anti-retaliation. There is a civil penalty of $100 for each day of violation. The notice is available in Amharic, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. To access the notices, visit the DOES website here.
Where do employees file for this benefit? How do they appeal a claim decision?
The Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) within the Department of Employment Services (DOES) will process benefit claims filed by employees and any challenge to claim determinations can be filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings.
OHR will be responsible for investigating any complaint, other than claim determination and appeals, such as notice violation, retaliation, and interference. Retaliation is any adverse action taken by the employer on an employee for attempting or using the Universal Paid Family Leave benefit. This includes, but is not limited to termination, demotion, shift in primary duties and responsibilities and/or any change to pay, status, or terms of employment.
How you can be prepared
OHR suggests that you direct human resource personnel to read the Universal Paid Family Leave Act as well as the report conducted by the OPFL. There are numerous resources on OPFL's website, including a benefit calculator.
For inquiries regarding the types of complaints OHR adjudicates, email OHR at [email protected].
For inquiries regarding the Paid Family Leave program, please contact the Office of Paid Family Leave at [email protected] or visit the website dcpaidfamilyleave.dc.gov