The District of Columbia has enacted legislation that will extend a requirement that employers provide paid leave to employees for the time they, or their minor child, spend obtaining and recovering from COVID-19 vaccination. The legislation also extends an expansion of the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA). These changes were set to expire on Feb. 3, 2022.
To extend the changes beyond February 3, 2022, the District of Columbia enacted two pieces of legislation. One (PR24-0547) covers the period from Feb. 3, 2022 to whenever the other piece of legislation takes effect, which is projected to be on or about Feb. 18, 2022. The other (B24-0405) will extend the changes another 225 days, to on or about Oct. 1, 2022.
Here’s a summary of the vaccination and recovery leave requirements and expansion of DCFMLA:
Vaccination and Recovery Leave:
All employers must provide paid vaccination and recovery leave to any employee who commenced work for the employer at least 15 days before the request for leave.
Amount of Leave:
Employees are entitled to up to two hours of paid leave per injection to obtain, or for a child under the age of 18 to obtain, the COVID-19 vaccine, including any boosters. Employees are also entitled to up to eight hours of paid leave per injection during the 24-hour period following the two-hour vaccination leave period. The eight hours of paid leave is to be provided to the employee for purposes of recovering, or caring for a child who is recovering, from the side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.
Note: An employee is entitled to no more than 48 hours of paid leave, in the aggregate, in a year under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act.
Relationship to Other Leave Policies:
Generally, the paid vaccination and recovery leave required must be in addition to any other paid leave an employer provides an employee under an existing leave policy.
Extension of Changes to DCFMLA:
Prior legislation amended the DCFMLA to add a new category of leave called COVID-19 leave. The leave may be unpaid. Unlike the other types of DCFMLA leave, employees are eligible for COVID-19 leave if they have worked at least 30 days for an employer.
Eligible employees may use up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave if they are unable to work because the employee:
- Has tested positive for COVID-19 or is caring for a family member or individual with whom the employee shares a household who has tested positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine under Department of Health guidelines;
- Has a recommendation from a healthcare provider or a directive from an employer that the employee isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, including because the employee or an individual with whom the employee shares a household is at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19;
- Must care for a family member or an individual with whom the employee shares a household, who is isolating or quarantining under Department of Health guidance, the recommendation of a healthcare provider, or the order or policy of the family member’s or individual’s school or childcare provider; or
- Must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable to the employee due to COVID-19.
Note: Prior legislation also extended the DCFMLA’s COVID-19 leave requirement to all employers, but the District of Columbia has clarified that this provision was removed as of November 5, 2021. Therefore, the COVID-19 leave requirement applies only to employers with 20 or more employees in the District of Columbia.
· Ensure compliance with the leave requirements.
· Display up-to-date notices in the workplace.
· Amend policies if necessary.
· Notify supervisors and employees of the extension.
· For details COVID-19 leave under the DCFMLA, go here.