Employers throughout the U.S. are carefully watching what is happening these days in the District of Columbia.
D.C. has approved a controversial new act known as the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008, which essentially requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers. The act may be the harbinger of paid sick leave elsewhere, and has become an important topic among HR professionals.
Employees who would be eligible are those who, first of all, spend at least 50% of their work time in the District of Columbia. They must also have accumulated a year of continuous service and at least 1,000 hours of work in the previous 12 months, under the proposed act.
The District of Columbia Family Medical and Leave Act is in place to protect employees in the event of a personal emergency or medical situation. I have discovered that DC laws are broader than those of the federal laws, giving more time off for a wider variety of situations.
The DC laws cover employers with 20 or more workers. The employee must have worked at least 12 months for at least 1,000 hours. An employee may take 16 weeks of unpaid leave during a 24-month period for:
• A new child (birth or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care)
• Family leave (care of serious medical condition for a person related by blood, legal custody or marriage, or person with whom the employee has shared a mutual residence in the last year and with whom the employee maintains a committed relationship)
I found it surprising that a further 16 weeks can be taken for an employee’s own serious health condition, for a total of 32 weeks combined for personal and family leave time.
Employees must inform their employer at least 30 days prior to the date of leave, or if in an emergency, as soon as possible. Employees have a year to take birth or adoption leave. Leave must be shared by family members working for the same employer. An employee may need to supply a medical certification if leave is for a serious health condition.
I know that serious health medical conditions are defined as any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that results in more than a three-day absence, or involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical-care facility. Any incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care is also covered.
Intermittent leave may be taken when a family member or the employee himself or herself has a serious health condition. An employee may use their accrued vacation, personal, or sick paid leave to be paid during time off. Health insurance must continue under the same conditions as those prior to the leave.
Once they return, an employee must be restored to the same position or one equivalent to it in all benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. If an employee thinks they’ve been denied their rights, they have a year to file a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.
The Leave of Absence laws are detailed further on the District of Columbia Complete Labor Law poster. It provides information on both state and federal labor laws.
I know that it’s not easy juggling work and family responsibilities. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to take some time off of work to attend school functions? Well, in the District of Columbia, the Parental Leave Act makes it a matter of law.
I know that under the law, which was passed in 1994, an employee has a right to leave work for a total of 24 hours in a 12-month period to attend or participate in school-related events. The employee must be the child’s parent; legal guardian, aunt, uncle, or grandparent. The school event must be one in which the child is a participant or a subject.
Of course, there is some fine print in the act. First, the parental leave is unpaid, unless the employee wants to use their accrued vacation or sick time. Second, the employee must give at least 10 days notice of their intent to take the time off to their employer, unless there is an unforeseen event that prohibits this.
I know that an employer may deny the leave only if It will disrupt their business or cause an undue hardship to running their business. If an employee thinks that they were denied their rights, they have one year to make a complaint to the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.
Not many states have made it a point to include such a law. The detials of the parental leave act are available for employees to view on the District of Columbia Complete Labor Law poster. All of the District of Columbia labor laws as well as federal labor laws are reflected.