The District of Columbia passed the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2016, as we previously reported in our December 2016 E-Update, and the requirement for employer contributions to fund the leave benefits begins on July 1, 2019.

The bill, which covers only private sector workers, guarantees eight weeks of paid time for new parents, six weeks of paid time to care for a family member who is experiencing a serious health condition, and two weeks of paid personal sick time. Employers with employees in D.C. and paying unemployment insurance for those employees are subject to the Act.

Employers with five or more covered employees must electronically register for an online account with the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES). Those with fewer than five employees may either use the online portal or request paper registration and communications.

Employers will be required file quarterly reports and to pay a tax of .62 percent of the gross wages of D.C. employees to the UPL Implementation Fund, and they may not seek to recoup any portion of this contribution from their employees. UPL taxes may be paid through the same DOES portal used for unemployment tax collection, and must also be submitted on a quarterly basis no later than the last day of the month following the close of the quarter. The first payment, covering wages paid to covered workers from April 1 through June 30, 2019, is due no later than July 31, 2019. Employees may begin to collect benefits on July 1, 2020.

The DOES has an Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL), which has recently launched a website to assist employers with compliance. Employers may complete their online registration there.