District of Columbia Paid Family Leave (DC PFL)

Group Benefits
Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) laws are expanding in states across the country. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks of leave without the threat of losing their benefits or their job. But the FMLA’s protection is limited: it assures only unpaid leave, which many workers can’t afford, and applies only to businesses with 50 or more employees.
 
The District of Columbia passed new regulations under the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016. Private sector employers should have begun recording workers’ wages on April 1, 2019. On July 1, 2019, the District will start collecting taxes for the Paid Family Leave (DC PFL) program from employers – with a July 31 deadline to pay. Employees can start taking benefits in July 2020.
 
Though the District’s program is named Paid Family Leave, it includes two weeks for employees’ own Medical Leave.
 
This is an ongoing series of updates on Paid Family and Medical Leave developments – so you can be prepared to fulfill all mandated requirements. This release features highlights for the District of Columbia.
 
With a few exceptions, all private employers are required to participate in the District’s program. There is no option to opt out of DC PFL through a private or self-funded plan. 
Here’s what you need to know about DC PFL.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Birth or placement of a child into the household that the employee legally assumes parental responsibility over.
  • Care for a family member including: biological, adopted, foster, step child, or someone who an employee acts as a parent to a biological, adopted parent, parent-in-law, step parent or other person who acted as a parent to the employee when he/she was child; a domestic partner or spouse; a grandparent or a sibling.
  • An employee’s own serious health condition.
  • Eight weeks to bond with a new child
  • Six weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Two weeks to care for an employee’s own serious health condition
  • Benefits will be up to 90% weekly wages with $1000/max.
  • There is an eight week DC PFL benefits cap in a 52-week period
A weekly benefits calculator is available at https://does.dc.gov/page/district-columbia-paid-family-leave
Employers pay a 0.62 percent payroll tax on each employee’s gross wages each quarter. The cost cannot be deducted from an employee’s pay. There is no wage limit on the DC PFL tax.
A covered employee is someone who spends more than 50 percent of her/his work time in the District of Columbia. Self-employed individuals can opt into DC PFL if they are a sole proprietor, independent contractor or member of a partnership.
Employers paying unemployment insurance for employees in the District must also pay the DC PFL tax. Nonprofits are covered employers if they are required to pay UI tax in DC. Employers are required to participate if they indirectly control a worker through an agency like a staffing or temp agency.
All covered employers must participate in the Department of Employment Services DC PFL program. Private Disability insurance can complement DC PFL to fill gaps in pay and leave duration. Employers are encouraged to work with their private carrier to coordinate benefits.
Please reach out to your representative at The Hartford for additional information or have an employee benefits representative from The Hartford contact you.
 
 
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This informational material is subject to change as we continue to receive guidance from each state. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking on your behalf, or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business operations are in compliance with any law, rule, or regulation. Those seeking resolution of specific legal or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own attorney or business advisors.
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