Recently, the District of Columbia City Council passed legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to District of Columbia employees for illness and absences associated with domestic violence or sexual abuse. With the passage of the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, the District becomes the second municipality to require paid sick leave for employees, including public employees employed by the City.
The new legislation provides that employers with 100 or more employees must provide employees with up to seven days of paid leave; employers with 25-99 employees must provide employees with up to five days of paid leave; and employers with less than 24 employees up to three paid days.
The law also covers transient employees who work for employers located outside of the District. In addition to covering salaried and hourly employees of local employers, the Act also defines an employee as one who spends more than 50% of his or her working time in the District. The Act is limited to employees who have been employed with the same employer for ninety days or more. Health care workers and independent contractors are exempt from the Act.
An employee is entitled to leave due to his or her physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition; to care for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or any other family member who has a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition; to obtain professional medical diagnosis or care or preventive care resulting from stalking, domestic violence or sexual violence; and to care for a family member who is a victim of stalking, domestic violence or sexual violence. The Act contains certification and notification provisions, similar to those of the District's Family and Medical Leave Act ("DCFMLA") that provides qualifying employees with up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave for qualifiying conditions.
Employers who have a paid leave policy equivalent to or greater than that provided under the Act are not required to modify their existing policy. Employers are required to provide leave pursuant to the policy, under the terms and conditions prescribed by the Act.
The Mayor is expected to sign the Act, which is predicted to provide more than 200,000 employees with leave. Congress will have 30 days thereafter to review the Act.