District of Columbia Issues New DC FMLA Final Regulations

The District of Columbia has issued new final regulations for the District’s Family and Medical Leave Act (DC FMLA, D.C. Official Code 32-501 et seq.), effective November 19, 2010.

While many provisions of the rules are not new and were included in the Act and in prior regulations, there is new material of which employers need to be aware. The new regulations still apply to employers with 20 or more employees in the District and cover employees who have worked at least 1,000 hours in the last 12 months. (Paid time for holidays, vacation, sick leave, etc. are counted in the 1,000 hours.) However, new provisions explain additional employment conditions: the requirement that an employee work within the District at least 50% of his/her work time (or otherwise satisfy the qualifications for being employed “in” the District), and explanations of “continuous service” and the “7-year break in service” limitation to the service requirement. (Sec. 1603.1, 1603.2, 1603.5)

The leaves available are 16 weeks per 24-month period for an employee’s serious health condition, and 16 weeks per 24-month period for family leave (birth of a child, adoption, or other permanent placement of a child with the employee, or to care for a ”family member” who has a serious health condition.) Family leave still may be taken in a continuous block or on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis when medically necessary. Family leave related to the birth or placement of a child, however, may be taken by agreement on a reduced leave schedule over a period not to exceed 24 consecutive months. (Sec. 1606.4). This agreed upon extended leave, previously available for any family leave, is now limited to child bonding. Also, “family member” now includes a foster child. (Sec. 1699.1)

Changes to employer notice requirements include providing an employee with a written “eligibility letter” within 5 days of the employee’s leave request or notice that the employee needs time off for a qualifying reason detailing the eligibility qualifications identified in the final rule. (Sec. 1613.4) Employers are also required to provide written notice within 5 days of receipt of medical certification of the leave’s designation as DC FMLA or federal FMLA. (Sec. 1613.6) There are also new employer recordkeeping responsibilities which require documenting extensive leave information on an annual basis. (Sec. 1617.6)

Employers must make DC FMLA information available to employees by posting it and including it in its employee handbook or manual. Posting includes displaying a hard copy in a conspicuous place frequented by employees or an electronic copy on the employer’s website. (Sec. 1613.20) Compliance Poster Company’s Washington D.C. All-On-One poster (#83748) features the mandatory DC FMLA notice.

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31 Responses to District of Columbia Issues New DC FMLA Final Regulations

  1. Anne says:

    I am in DC and the information you provide on the new FMLA regulations has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  2. Theodore Agbara says:

    The DCFMLA states “An employee is also entitled under the statute to family leave to attend specified school and family functions and activities” What documentation is required to prove that an employee is attending family functions and activities?

    • Research Department says:

      There are two types of leave, family and parental, to which you might be referring. There is no leave law in DC for other family functions or activities.

      Family Leave:
      D.C. Code § 32-502 authorizes up to 16 weeks of family leave to qualified employees every 24 months.
      Family leave may be taken for the birth, foster care placement, or adoption of a child or to care for the serious health condition of a family member. Employers may request that an employee seeking DCFMLA leave under this section provide certification from a health care provider. Certification details can be found in D.C. Code § 32-504.

      Parental Leave:
      D.C. Code § 32-1201 authorizes 24 hours of parental leave per year to allow employees to attend school-related events. “School-related event” means an activity sponsored by either a school or an associated organization such as a parent-teacher association. School-related events include student performances, concerts, plays, rehearsals, sporting events, parent-teacher conferences, or any similar type of activity, where the child is a participant or subject of the event, not a spectator.

      For more information, contact the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights at (202) 727-4559 or online at: ohr.dc.gov.

  3. Pat Sherr says:

    I work in a hotel and want to take off Sunday’s for FMLA reasons. What do I have to do?

  4. Christine Dawkins-Brewster says:

    I have used the DCFMLA and Federal FMLA for past health, multiple, issues. However, as a MSS employee, I now face the loss of my job because I am not able to return to work when the leave period has expired. I am told that I cannot take leave without pay anymore and must “vountarily surrender my position” and which my benefits goes with it. I still have health issues that need attending. No one told me that my job would be at risk when/if the leave expired before I was well and back in health.

  5. Christine Dawkins-Brewster says:

    Does DCFMLA and Federal FMLA runs concurrent or consequetive? If it runs concurrent, then what good does it do to apply for both at once?

  6. Research Department says:

    Hi Christine,

    DCFMLA Final Rule 1620.2 provides that for “leave which qualifies under both DCFMLA and federal FMLA, the leave shall count against an employee’s entitlement for both laws and shall be counted or applied concurrently under both laws.” Unfortunately, we don’t have enough information to answer your second question. Good luck!

    CPC

  7. Jane says:

    Can I take all 32 weeks of DCFMLA, if needed? For example, I had complications with my pregnancy, and used 16 weeks. I used another 16 weeks to bond with my child?

  8. Karen Mazie says:

    My employer has a policy requiring employees to use up all of their paid leave (sick/vacation) during their FMLA time. I read on another site that this is not allowed by DC law. Is that correct?

    • Research Department says:

      Hi Karen,

      Unfortunately, we cannot provide advice regarding specific employment circumstances. The answer to this question will depend in part on whether the leave comes under the federal FMLA or District of Columbia DCFMLA.

      Federal FMLA law does permit employers to have policies requiring employees to use accrued paid leave to cover some or all of the FMLA leave. Click here to read FMLA Fact Sheet #28.

      Under DCFMLA, an employer generally may not require the employee to use his or her paid leave while on DCFMLA leave. However, if an employee elects to take paid leave while on DCFMLA leave, the paid leave and the DCFMLA run concurrently. Click here to read D.C. Code § 32-503(b).

      Thanks, CPC

  9. kimberly mcqueen says:

    If an individual has been approved for Fmla can an employer discuss the employee’s absences in their yearly evaluation?

    • Research Department says:

      Thanks for your question.

      The law provides that an employer is prohibited from interfering with the exercise of FMLA and from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for having exercised FMLA rights. However, the law does not necessarily preclude an employer from discussing employee’s absences during an annual evaluation. You can read more FAQs about FMLA here.

  10. Patrick Johnson says:

    Can management reasonably require my primary care physician, who is treating me for a DC FMLA-covered serious illness, sign off on visits to the emergency room and urgent care facilities, on dates for visits he did not personally see me, but with symptons that are consistent with the serious illness he is treating me for?

    Even if the doctor could sign off on the recertification paperwork, shouldn’t the medical records from the emergency room and urgent care facilities be sufficient documentation to satisfy management’s recertification requests?

    Please answer asap. This is very time sensitive.

    • Research Department says:

      Unfortunately, we are not able to provide specific advice. You should consult with your health care provider and/or legal advisor regarding your specific situation. You might be interested in reading relevant sections of the DCMLA (D.C. Code § 32-501-517) found here and the regulations (D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 4, § 1600, et seq.) found here.

      Best of luck,

      CPC

  11. Patrick Johnson says:

    Hello again, Under DCFMLA, who pays for the recertification – the employer or the employee? What is the usual time frame when management can ask for a recertification after your initial approval? Thank you, Patrick

  12. jeff says:

    My wife and I both work in DC and are expecting a daughter soon. Are we both able to take 16 weeks off to bond with the child?

    • Research Department says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Unfortunately, we cannot offer specific advice. Please refer to DC FMLA Rule 4-1606 and check with your employer or human resource representative.

      Best wishes,
      CPC Research Dept.

  13. Bonnie says:

    Hi – my company has employees who live in DC, but do no work in DC. All work is done in Maryland. Is my company governed by DC employment and human rights laws (unemployment, business registration, labor law posters, etc) or by Maryland laws? Thanks.

    • Research Department says:

      Thanks for your question. Under the law, a covered employer is one that employs employees in the District. An eligible employee is an individual who works within the District.

      CPC Research

  14. Shawn says:

    After an employee exhausts all of their DCFMLA leave 16 weeks,how long would you have to wait until you are eligible to take DCFMLA leave again?Not sure if you can take DCFMLA every year or every 2 years?

    • Research Department says:

      Hi Shawn,

      Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual advice. Please ask your employer or legal adviser for assistance with your situation.

      Best regards,

      CPC Research

  15. shawn says:

    Hello,I’m confused about DCFMLA? If you are granted DCFMLA leave can you exhaust your 16 weeks every year,or do you have to wait for 2 years.How often can you take DCFMLA?

    • Research Department says:

      Hi Shawn,

      We cannot provide individual advice. Please ask your employer or legal adviser for assistance with your situation.

      Best regards,

      CPC Research

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