Summary of District of Columbia Laws
D.C. Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act
Act 17-0324 Effective Nov. 13, 2008
Proposed Rulemaking Chapter 32, DCMR
DC Register Dec. 19, 20081 (see page 15 of 52 under Notice of Proposed Rulemaking)
The proposed rulemaking published with this notice supersedes the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on December 19, 2008.
The legislation was signed by the Mayor on March 19, 2008. After a thirty-day period for Congressional review, and the passage of an appropriations bill that included funding for the Act, it became effective on May 13, 2008. Nov. 13, 2008 is the effective date for compliance. The law affects all non-military universities in the District of Columbia, and other employers as noted in the text of the law.
Regulations have not yet been issued. The DC Department of Employment Services will administer and enforce the act. There are some contradictions within the law that may or may not be resolved by the regulations.
Definitions and scope of coverage
The bill exempts full time students who are employed for less than 25 hours a week at the institutions they attend. The definition of employee under the new law tracks the definition under the DC Family and Medical Leave Act, i.e. the employee must have been employed for at least one year without a break in service, and worked for at least 1000 hours during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave request. * 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 new law in all languages necessary to accomodate their employees. The DC Minimum Wage Poster has language on the Safe and Sick Leave Act incorporated at the bottom of the poster. However, the text on this poster does not seem to meet the Posting Requirements set for in the proposed text for the DCMR. (See the DC Register, Vol. 55-No-51 December 19, 2008). However, employers are not liable for failing to post a notice until the Mayor prescribes the notice to be posted.
Situations in which paid leave is required under the new 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.
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.
* Note that one section of the act grants employees access to leave after 90 days on the job. This does not align with the definition of employee in the law. Clarification will hopefully be forthcoming with the regulations. See McGuire Woods Sept. 9, 2008 Article for a discussion of this ambiguity, as well as the Jackson Lewis Checklist posted below.
Letter from Employers to DC Council on Draft Regulations
Jackson Lewis LLP Checklist Posted with permission courtesy of Garen E. Dodge, Attorney at Law, Jackson Lewis LLP (Phone # 703-821-2189; web page http://jacksonlewis.com/)
Jackson Lewis LLP Model Policy Posted with permission courtesy of Garen E. Dodge, Attorney at Law, Jackson Lewis LLP (note that this model policy does not track the special exceptions for higher education)
1Update on status: 4/22/09 : Statement by Brian Flowers, General Counsel, Council of DC to Sally Kram, Consortium of Universities: The Executive chose to transmit all of the rules required by the Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act in one rulemaking even though they had different review provisions. The portion that was eligible to be deemed approved by operation of law was deemed approved without Council action on February 11, 2009. The hardship exemption provisions (section 3218), were not deemed approved, and that provision was withdrawn by the Mayor prior to its being deemed disapproved on March 5, 2009. Thus, the remaining portions of the rules can be finalized at any time by the publication of a Notice of Final Rulemaking. They will not become effective until the final rulemaking notice is published. The hardship provisions must be retransmitted to the Council for affirmative approval before they can be finalized.
This new legislation requires employers in the District of Columbia to provide paid leave for employees for illness and absence associated with domestic violence or sexual abuse. Terms of the act vary depending upon the size of the employer.
new page 4/2/08 mlo
links updated 6/6/08 rab
updated 6/27/08 to add effective date and other info (mlo)
updated 6/30/08 to add Jackson Lewis materials (mlo)
updated 10-15-08 to add McGuire Woods article and reference to exemption for faculty (mlo)
updated 1/8/09 to add link to Dec. 19, 2008 DCR and also link to poster
updated 1/14/09 added effective date and letter suggesting changes to DCMR
updated 4-23-09 to add statement on status
Page updated August 4th, 2010, FJL.