Human Capital & Careers

Mandated Paid Leave Coming to Washington, D.C.

Employers will have to pay for an absence "if the employee or the employee’s family member is a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual vi...
Stephen TaubSeptember 9, 2008

Following the lead of San Francisco, the council of Washington D.C. will require most employers on November 13 to provide paid sick leave to eligible employees working in the district. Under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008, which was passed by the council in March, employers must pay for absences related to physical or mental illness, preventive medical care, or family care, or to an absence “if the employee or the employee’s family member is a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual violence.”

The act will require employers to provide paid “safe leave” for absences associated with stalking and domestic or sexual abuse. Although all D.C. employers regardless of size are covered by the Act, some businesses may be excused by “hardship exemption” submitted by the mayor.

The District’s act requires up to seven paid days per year for employees of employers with 100 or more employees. Employers with 25 to 99 employees must provide up to five days per year while employers with 24 or fewer employees must provide up to three days per year.

Currently, there is no federal law requiring paid sick leave. The District will become the second municipality after San Francisco to require employers to provide certain types of paid leave to employees. According to a recent memo by the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP law firm, the following stare are considering paid sick leave laws: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Milwaukee is considering one as well.

There are several important employee exemptions in the act, according to a new memo by the McGuire, Woods law firm. It does not apply to restaurant wait staff or bartenders who receive income based on a combination of tips and wages. It also doesn’t apply to independent contractors.

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