The District of Columbia recently adopted a new version of emergency laws requiring employers to provide both paid and unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain COVID-19 related reasons. The Mayor signed the Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 and the Coronavirus Support Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (together, CSEA) into law on May 27,2020 and July 7, 2020, respectively. CSEA replaces prior versions of the District’s COVID-19 related emergency leave laws.

In brief, the CSEA:

  • Amends the D.C. Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (ASSLA) to require employers with between 50 and 499 employees (other than “health care providers” as defined in the law) to provide eligible employees with up to 2 weeks of paid “public health emergency leave” at full pay for any reason for which paid leave is available under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). We blogged about the reasons for FFCRA leave in a previous post. Employees who have been employed by the employer for at least 15 days prior to the leave request are eligible for D.C. public health emergency leave. The leave may only be used concurrently with or after exhausting other paid leave benefits under the FFCRA or other applicable laws or the employer’s own leave policies. The CSEA contains provisions for coordinating benefits to avoid duplication.
  • Expands the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) to require all employers with one or more employees in D.C. to provide 16 weeks of unpaid, job-protected “COVID-19” leave to eligible employees who are unable to work because (a) a health care provider has recommended “that the employee isolate or quarantine, including because the employee or an individual with whom the employee shares a household is at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19”; (b) the employee is caring for a family or household member who is “under a government or health care provider’s order to quarantine or isolate”; or (c) the employee “need[s] to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable to the employee.” Employees are eligible for this leave if they have worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the leave request.

These leave entitlements apply only for the duration of the public health emergencies declared by the Mayor, which are currently slated to expire on July 24, 2020, but may be extended. The CSEA itself is also a temporary measure, which is currently set to expire August 25, 2020, unless it is extended.

Earlier this month the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR), which administers the DCFMLA, issued  enforcement guidance and a workplace poster related to the CSEA’s expansion of the DCFMLA. The poster states that employers “must post and maintain this notice in a conspicuous place and transmit it to remote employees.” The D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) Office of Wage-Hour Compliance (OWH), which administers the ASSLA, has not issued guidance or a poster on D.C. public health emergency leave.

For answers to your questions about how the D.C. COVID-19 leave laws or other leave laws impact your workplace, contact one of the authors of the post or another Hogan Lovells lawyer with whom you regularly work.