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January 16, 2009
District of Columbia Publishes Paid Sick Leave Rules

The District of Columbia's Department of Employment Services has published proposed rules that would implement provisions of the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.

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The law requires employers in the District of Columbia to provide paid leave to employees for illness and for absences associated with domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The Department of Employment Services published the proposal in the December 19 edition of the D.C. Register .

The law requires that:

  • Employers with 100 or more employees provide 1 hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked, not to exceed 7 days per calendar year.
  • Employers with at least 25, but not more than 99, employees provide 1 hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked, not to exceed 5 days per calendar year.
  • Employers with 24 or fewer employees provide 1 hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked, not to exceed 3 days per calendar year.
An employee's unused paid leave accrued during a 12-month period will carry over annually. However, the law doesn't require employers to reimburse employees for any unused paid leave accrued when they leave the company.

The regulations identify how and when employees must notify their employer of the need for paid leave. For example, when possible, employees must give 30 days' written notice if the leave is foreseeable. If the employee becomes aware of the need to use paid leave less than 30 days before the date the paid leave will be used, the employee must provide written notice to the employer on the day that the employee becomes aware of the need to use the paid leave. Absent extenuating circumstances, if an eligible employee becomes aware of the need for paid leave after the employee's work shift that immediately precedes the work shift for which the paid leave will be used, the employee must make such a request before the start of the work shift for which the paid leave is needed

The regulations also state that an employer may require that a request for paid leave of three 3 or more consecutive days be supported by a certification in the form of a:

  • A signed document from a healthcare professional,
  • A police report,
  • A court order, or
  • A signed statement from victim and witness advocate.

Other topics covered by the regulations include posting requirements, penalties, and the effect of hate law on existing employment benefits and paid leave policies.

To read the proposed regulations, go here.

In May 2008, the district became the second jurisdiction requiring employers to offer paid sick leave. In November 2006, voters in San Francisco approved Proposition F, making the city the first to require employers to offer paid sick leave. The ordinance requires employers to give 1 hour of paid sick leave to an employee for every 30 hours worked. In November 2008, voters in Milwaukee approved a referendum to require employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

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