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UPDATE: Washington, D.C. Universal Paid Leave Increases Will Begin October 2022

On June 7, 2022, the District of Columbia Council approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Support Act of 2022 (“Act”), which includes an increase to the number of weeks of paid leave available to eligible employees through the Universal Paid Leave Act (“UPLA”) (also known as “Paid Family Leave,” or “PFL”).  Generally, as we previously explained, PFL-eligible employees are those who spend at least 50 percent of their work time – whether full time or part time – in D.C.

As we previously reported, an August 2021 amendment to the UPLA granted the District’s Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) the ability to modify the maximum duration of leave available under the program annually depending upon the projected balance of the Universal Paid Leave Fund.  On March 1, 2022, the Acting CFO certified that the Universal Paid Leave Fund had enough money to increase the maximum duration of qualifying paid medical, parental, and family leave for eligible employees to 12 weeks and decrease the employer contribution payroll tax.  The expanded leave amounts were set to apply as of July 1, 2022, but the Act delays the applicability date for the increased leave to October 1, 2022. Eligible employees also remain entitled to take up to 2 weeks for prenatal leave, and the reduction to the payroll tax continues to apply on July 1, 2022.

The Act revokes the CFO’s ability to adjust PFL leave amounts and instead makes the previous increases permanent. The Act also permanently eliminates the previous one-week waiting period for receiving paid leave benefits.

D.C. employers should continue to prepare for the October 1, 2022 implementation date by reviewing and updating their leave policies to be compliant with the increased paid leave time allowable for medical, parental, and family leave.