Yesterday, the D.C. Council voted to approve several amendments to the District’s paid family and medical leave program. The amendments, which were passed as part of the District’s budget for fiscal year 2022, include several expansions aimed at making paid leave more accessible to workers, such as:
- Increasing the maximum duration for medical leave up to 6 weeks for paid leave claims filed from October 1, 2021 until October 1, 2022;
- After October 1, 2022, the maximum number of weeks for bonding, medical, and caregiving leave, may increase, depending on the availability of funding, up to as many as 12 weeks;
- Temporarily waiving the waiting period so that workers with leave claims do not have to wait 1 week before receiving benefits;
- Allowing workers to file for benefits up to 30 days after they qualify for leave;
- Temporarily expanding the earnings period used to calculate worker benefits so that workers who have lost income recently may be entitled to higher weekly benefit amounts; and
- Expanding access to job protection through the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act to cover certain workers who have worked for their employer for non-consecutive periods.
Additionally, the D.C. Council rejected the mayor’s proposal to drastically cut employer contributions, which pay for the paid leave program. Instead, the employer contribution rate will remain the same for the immediate future—and may be temporarily decreased in future years dependent on the status of the paid leave fund—as A Better Balance joined the D.C. Paid Leave Campaign in advocating for in testimony submitted in June.
This clear victory for D.C. workers will help those most hard hit by the pandemic and address racial disparities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. We congratulate our partners at the D.C. Paid Leave Campaign on this crucial expansion to D.C. paid family and medical leave, which will continue to be critical for workers and families as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting health impacts.
For more information on workplace rights in Washington, D.C., click here. Workers with questions about their workplace rights can call A Better Balance’s free and confidential legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.