Washington, D.C., in November 2021 passed a measure that established new COVID-19 vaccine paid leave requirements and extended its public health emergency leave.
The COVID Vaccination Leave Emergency Amendment of 2021 is in effect until February 2022.
Paid Leave for Vaccine in Washington, D.C.
Applying to nearly every employer in Washington, D.C., the act requires employers to provide workers with:
- Two hours of paid leave to get each dose, including boosters
- Two hours of paid leave to get the vaccine for their child
- Up to eight hours of paid leave to recover from vaccine side effects
- Up to eight hours of paid leave to care for a child recovering from vaccine side effects
The eight hours of paid leave is during the 24-hour period following COVID-19 vaccination shots.
Eligible employees must have worked for the employer for at least 15 days before they can request leave for the vaccination.
Interestingly, the new law regarding paid leave for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Washington, D.C., came around the same time that the mayor announced the district’s indoor mask mandate was scaled back.
Also of note for employers — there may not be too many workers who still need the vaccine. As of Nov. 16, 2021, more than 88 percent of D.C. residents 18 or older had received at least one dose of the vaccine, as well as 61 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds.
Paid Leave Management. Simplified.
COVID-19 Emergency Leave in Washington, D.C.
The act also extended public health emergency leave available under the Washington, D.C., Family Medical Leave Act through February 2022.
This leave, however, is unpaid.
Covered reasons under the emergency leave include:
- For an employee to care for themselves or a family member after a positive COVID-19 test
- For an employee to quarantine or care for a family member who must isolate
- For an employee to care for a child whose school or daycare was closed because of COVID-19
The pandemic continues to impact the world of employment law — most notably with the status of the federal vaccine mandate still up in the air.
And with a new variant making headlines of late, there could be more jurisdictions across the U.S. that implement new requirements for employers related to COVID-19, or those that extend existing paid leave laws.
Employers with locations in Washington, D.C., should be sure to research the leave requirements related to the latest law to ensure compliance.