The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services has released a mandatory Paid Family Leave Employee Notice ("PFL Notice"). All employers subject to the District of Columbia's new paid family leave law, which was enacted by the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (UPLA), must provide the PFL Notice to covered employees by February 1, 2020. The PFL Notice, available here, includes information regarding employee rights and paid leave benefits available under the UPLA.
As we have previously noted, eligible employees may begin to apply for leave and wage replacement benefits under the UPLA beginning on July 1, 2020. If approved by the Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL), employees may take up to a maximum of eight (8) weeks of paid leave per year in any combination of (1) parental leave for bonding with a new child (up to 8 weeks per year); (2) family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition (up to 6 weeks a year); and/or (3) medical leave for the employee's own serious health condition (up to 2 weeks a year). Employees taking leave under the UPLA will receive partial wage replacement benefits from the OPFL, which are funded by employer payroll taxes.
To comply with their notice obligations, D.C. employers must post the PFL Notice in a conspicuous place in their workplace, beside the other employment notices required by federal and D.C. law. In addition, beginning on February 1, 2020, employers must provide a physical or electronic copy of the PFL Notice:
- to all employees, annually;
- to all new employees at the time of hire; and
- to any employee when the employer receives direct notice of the employee's need for leave that could be covered by the UPLA.
If provided electronically, employers should retain copies of the emails distributing the PFL Notice.
D.C. employers should also review their leave policies to ensure compliance with the UPLA, and to make sure that existing leave policies properly coordinate with UPLA leave and benefits. The Department of Employment Services recently released proposed paid family leave regulations, which are expected to be finalized later this year, that may provide additional guidance to employers seeking to comply with their UPLA obligations.