D.C. Paid Family and Medical Leave Update

By Kris Janisch
Published June 1, 2022

D.C. Paid Family and Medical Leave Update

The amount of paid family leave available to eligible Washington, D.C., employees increases July 1, 2022.

A Washington, D.C., paid family and medical leave (PFML) update is on the horizon.

In the spring of 2022, the district’s chief financial officer announced that, due to a surplus in the paid leave fund, the amount of paid family leave available to eligible Washington, D.C., employees will increase to a total of 12 weeks.

The change is effective July 1, 2022.

Washington, D.C., PFML Update

For background, as part of an incremental increase, the paid family leave benefits expanded in October 2021, allowing employees to take up to:

  • Eight weeks of parental leave
  • Six weeks of family leave
  • Six weeks of medical leave
  • Two weeks of prenatal medical care leave

Now, beginning on July 1, 2022, the maximum amount of leave will increase to:

  • 12 weeks of parental leave
  • 12 weeks family leave
  • 12 weeks medical leave

The two weeks prenatal medical care leave remains the same, while total leave may be capped at 12 weeks (plus the additional two weeks of prenatal leave for pregnant women in certain situations).

As a reminder, Washington, D.C., also has a paid sick leave program and its COVID-19 paid leave law expires Oct. 1, 2022.

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Washington, D.C., PFML

To refresh employers about the Washington, D.C., PFML program, here are a few items to help organizations remain complaint.

Covered Employee

A covered employee under PFML in Washington, D.C., is one who spends more than 50 percent of work time in D.C. or an employee whose employment is based in D.C. and who regularly spends work time in the district and not more than 50 percent of work time in another jurisdiction.

Eligible Reasons for Leave

Eligible reasons for leave include:

  • A diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition, including stillbirth and medical care relating to a miscarriage
  • To care for family member because of a diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition
  • Birth, placement or adoption of child
  • Prenatal medical care after diagnosis of pregnancy and prior to birth

Covered Family Member

Under Washington, D.C., PFML, the definition of “family member” includes:

  • Biological, adopted, or foster son or daughter, a stepson or stepdaughter, a legal ward, a son or daughter of a domestic partner, or a person to whom an employee stands in loco parentis
  • Biological, foster, or adoptive parent, a parent-in-law, a stepparent, a legal guardian, or other person who stood in loco parentis to an eligible employee when they were a child
  • Someone related by domestic partnership or marriage
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling

Benefits Summary

Like other jurisdictions, PFML in Washington, D.C., is linked to how much a qualifying employee earns:

  • If it’s more than or equal to 150 percent of the minimum wage, the benefit is 90 percent the average weekly rate
  • If the person makes less than 150 percent of the minimum wage, the benefit is 90 percent of the 150 percent of the minimum wage, plus 50 percent of the amount the average weekly rate exceeds 150 percent of the minimum wage

Starting Oct. 1, 2021, and each Oct. 1 for successive years, the maximum weekly benefit increases in proportion to the annual average increase in the Consumer Price Index.

Whitepaper: What Employers Need to Know About Paid Leave Laws


Employers with locations in Washington, D.C, should prepare for the expanded leave under its PFML program.

For a look at how to navigate the complexities of paid leave management — especially in jurisdictions with multiple leave laws — attend the upcoming GovDocs webinar, When Paid Leave Laws Collide: Locations With Multiple Laws, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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