This past July, the Council of the District of Columbia amended its statutory requirements for Universal Paid Leave through the Universal Paid Leave Emergency Amendment Act of 2022 (the “Act”). The amendments made to the D.C. paid leave program by the Act, among other things, increase the maximum duration of paid leave benefits, decrease the employer payroll tax contribution rates, and eliminate the one-week waiting period for individuals to receive benefit payments. The changes were justified by a surplus in the District’s Universal Paid Leave Fund.

As a result of the Act, effective October 1, 2022, the maximum duration for each type of paid leave within a 52-workweek period is as follows:

  • 12 workweeks of qualifying parental leave (increased from 8 weeks)
  • 12 workweeks of qualifying family leave (increased from 6 weeks)
  • 12 workweeks of qualifying medical leave (increased from 6 weeks)
  • 2 workweeks of qualifying pre-natal leave (no change)

In addition, as noted above, the Act eliminated the one-week waiting period that had been in effect since the D.C. Universal Paid Leave program was established.

The changes will also provide some benefit to employers in the form of lower contribution rates. The employer contribution rate to fund leave benefits will decrease from 0.62% to 0.26% of gross wages effective for the quarter beginning July 1, 2022.

Employers should be prepared for the expansion in paid leave benefits, revisit their leave policies, and if necessary, update them to reflect the amendments to D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave law.