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Overview of Paid Sick Time Laws in the United States:
District of Columbia

Updated on October 26, 2018

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District of Columbia
Who is covered? Workers employed by an employer within Washington, D.C are covered. The following individuals are exempted: independent contractors; students; health care workers choosing to participate in a premium pay program; unpaid volunteers engaged in the activities of an educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organization; and casual babysitters.
Can sick time be used to care for loved ones? Yes: children; grandchildren; spouses of children; siblings; spouses of siblings; parents; parents of a spouse/domestic partner; spouses; registered domestic partners; and a person with whom the worker has a committed (mutual, familial) relationship and has shared a mutual residence for at least the preceding 12 months
How is “child” defined? Biological children, foster children, grandchildren, or a child who lives with the worker and for whom the worker permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility
Can sick time be used for specific “safe time” purposes (related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking)? Yes, when the worker or the worker’s family member is the victim
Can sick time be used under the law to bond with a new child and/or deal with a family member’s death? Note: It is possible that other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or a state equivalent, could provide eligible workers with unpaid leave for these purposes. No
Can sick time be used when a worker’s place of work or child’s school/place of care is closed by public health officials for a public health emergency? No.
Rate at which workers earn paid sick time? In businesses with 24 or fewer workers: 1 hour for every 87 hours worked. In businesses with 25-99 workers (and workers in a restaurant or bar with 1-99 workers who regularly receive tips to supplement a base wage below the minimum wage): 1 hour for every 43 hours worked. In businesses with 100 or more workers: 1 hour for every 37 hours worked
Do workers have different sick time-related rights based on the size of their employer? If so, based on what employer-size threshold(s)? Yes, workers’ rights differ based on whether an employer has: 24 or fewer workers; 25-99 workers (or 1-99 workers for certain bar and restaurant workers); or 100 or more workers, as described below.
Amount of paid sick time that can be earned under the law per year? (Note: All of these paid sick time laws make it clear that these laws establish a minimum requirement, and employers can provide greater or more generous paid sick time benefits to their workers.) Workers in businesses with 24 or fewer workers: up to 24 hours a year. Workers in businesses with 25-99 workers (and workers in a restaurant or bar with 1-99 workers who regularly receive tips to supplement a base wage below the minimum wage): up to 40 hours a year. Workers in businesses with 100 or more workers: up to 56 hours a year. The number of workers is determined by the average monthly number of full-time equivalents in the prior year.
When do workers begin to earn paid sick time? At the commencement of employment, but workers aren’t entitled to use paid sick time until after 90 days of service with his or her employer.
Does unused sick time carry forward to the subsequent year? Per regulations, workers can carry forward unused paid sick time, but employers aren't required to allow use of more than: 56 hours of paid sick time a year (for businesses with 100 or more workers); 40 hours of paid sick time a year (for businesses with at least 25 and fewer than 100 workers—this presumably will also be the rule for tipped workers in a restaurant or bar with 1-99 workers); or 24 hours of paid sick time a year (for business with fewer than 25 workers). 
Private Right of Action to go to Court? Yes
Are there waivers/ exemptions for workers covered by a valid Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? The law’s paid sick time requirements won’t apply to workers in the building/construction industry covered by a CBA that expressly waives the requirements in clear and unambiguous terms. Otherwise, the law’s paid sick time requirements can’t be waived in the written terms of a CBA for less than 3 paid leave days.
What Agency or Official Enforces the Law? Washington D.C. Department of Employment Services
For the statewide paid sick time laws: can cities in the state pass paid sick time laws that are broader than the state law? N/A
Statutory Citation(s) D.C. Code § 32-131.01 et seq.
Additional Notes For more information, see https://does.dc.gov/service/office-wage-hour-compliance.
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