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*UPDATED* COVID-19 Leave during Public Health Emergency

This webpage was last updated on June 8, 2021.

On May 27, 2020, the Mayor signed D.C. COVID-19 Support Emergency Amendment Act (CSEA), D.C. Act 23-326, which replaces all previous Coronavirus-related legislation and temporarily amends the DCFMLA to create a new COVID-19 job-protected leave.  It is important to note that Congress passed 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.  Similarly, CSEA also amended the District Paid Sick and Safe Leave Act (D.C. Code § 32-531.02a) which requires certain employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons based on FFCRA.


  1. COVID-19 Leave (D.C. Code § 32-502.01):  During the declared public health emergency, an employee who has worked for 30 days for an employer of any size may use up to 16 weeks of “COVID-19” leave for one of the following reasons: Care for Self, Family or Household Member or Childcare Closure. The right to COVID-19 Leave terminates when the public health emergency has ended, even if an employee has not exhausted the 16-week entitlement.
  2. Certification (D.C. Code § 32-502.01(c)):  For COVID-19 Leave, an employer may request certification of the need for leave, including a signed, dated letter from a healthcare provider, including a probable duration, or a statement by a childcare provider or a printed statement from the childcare provider’s website.
  3. Penalties: Violation of the COVID-19 Leave provision (D.C. Code § 32-502.01) could result in a civil penalty of $1000 per offense in addition to any damages outlined in D.C. Code § 32-509.
  4. Effective Dates: CSEA was signed by the Mayor on May 27, 2020, with retroactive coverage from March 11, 2020.  The law is, therefore, effective as of March 11, 2020, and is currently set to expire once the declared public health emergency ends or approximately September 30, 2021.
  5. “COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” means Mayor’s declarations of emergencies under MO 2020-045, MO 2020-046 and any extensions thereof. 
  6. No Effect on Traditional Family and Medical Leave: CSEA does not change the definitions of employer and employee or eligibility for traditional family and medical leave entitlements, i.e., the employee must have worked for one year without a break in service and at least 1,000 hours in the preceding twelve months, and only employers with 20 or more employees are covered. Guidance on traditional family and medical leave can be found at ohr.dc.gov/page/OHRGuidance.


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