Summary of District of Columbia Laws
D.C. Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act
as amended by the Earned Safe and Sick Leave Act of 2013 which was signed by the Mayor Jan. 2, 2014.
For a full summary of the changes see the Epstein Becker Green article Feb. 2013.
Effective Date: Presumably end of Feb. 2014, but see the SHRM article posted Feb. 2014.
The amended law will greatly expand enforcement provisions and penalties for noncompliance. New recordkeeping requirements will obligate employers to maintain records documenting hours worked by employees and accrued and paid leave taken pursuant to the statute for a period of three years.
An individual accrues covered paid leave from the beginning of employment and may begin to access it after 90 days of service. This is a change from the prior law which required 1000 hours of service for the protections to be triggered.
Under the new law, employees can bring a complaint directly against the employer. Provisions on accrued leave were also changed by the amendment.
Definitions and scope of coverage
*An employer with 100 or more employees must provide one hour of paid leave for every 37 hours an employee works, not to exceed seven days a year. The law exempts full time students who are employed for less than 25 hours a week at the institutions they attend. If an employee does not suffer a loss of income when absent from work, the employer is not required to provide leave as called for by the law. This may mean (and does mean at CUA) that faculty and other instructional staff are not covered by this law with respect to sick leave, but may be covered when the request is for *safe leave*. Independent contractors are not covered by this law.
Amendments to Policies
While most schools will likely be already compliant in terms of the hours of sick leave provided, sick leave policies may need to be amended so that all of the events listed below will be covered as paid leave for the number of hours specified in the legislation (not less than one hour of paid leave for 37 hours worked, not to exceed 7 days per calendar year).
Posting of Notice
Employers are required to post a notice of the law in all languages necessary to accomodate their employees.
Situations in which paid leave is required under the legislation:
(b) Paid leave accrued under this section may be used by an employee for any of the following:
(1) An absence resulting from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee;
(2) An absence resulting from obtaining professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventive medical care, for the employee, subject to the requirement of subsection (d) of this section;
(3) An absence for the purpose of caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, domestic partner, or any other family member who has any of the conditions or needs for diagnosis or care described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection; or
(4) An absence if the employee or the employee's family member is a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse; provided, that the absence is directly related to social or legal services pertaining to the stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse, to:
(A) Seek medical attention for the employee or the employee's family member to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic violence or sexual abuse;
(B) Obtain services from a victim services organization;
(C) Obtain psychological or other counseling;
(D) Temporarily or permanently relocate;
(E) Take legal action, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from the domestic violence or sexual abuse; or
(F) Take other actions to enhance the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or the employee's family member or to enhance the safety of those who associate or work with the employee.
Penalties:Penalties include $500 per day in damages for each accrued day of leave denied, regardless of whether the employee took unpaid leave, or even reported to work on that day, and a potential daily penalty of $1,000 for the first offense, $1,500 for the second offense, and $2,000 for the third and each subsequent offense if the violation is deemed willful.
Employee requirements: Employees must give 10 days (or the earliest possible written notice) before taking paid leave, unless it is an emergency. The employee may also be required to provide documentation to their employer to certify the leave.
Little Mendelson Article posted Feb. 17, 2014