Washington DC Reduces PFL Contributions and Expands Leave

Every March 1, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) is required to provide a projection of annual revenues and projections in the Universal Paid Leave Fund. The OCFO also certifies the availability of funding for any paid leave benefit expansion and any adjustments to the employer contribution rate.

During the March 1 evaluation the OCFO determined that there is surplus in the Universal Paid Leave Fund, which allows for expansion of the leave benefits and a reduction in the employer contribution from .62% to .26%.

The reduction in employer contributions will be effective July 1, 2022. The expansion of benefits will be effective October 1, 2022 as confirmed by the Office of Paid Family Leave.

Expanded Paid Leave Benefits

The paid leave expansion will apply to claims which begin on or after the effective date. Any claims which begin prior to the effective date will be subject to the current limits.

The maximum amount of leave as of the effective date will be capped at 12 weeks in a 52-week period and 14 weeks if the leave is a combination of prenatal and parental leave.

Universal Paid Family Leave Recap

**Which Employees are Eligible? **All part-time or full-time employees working for a covered employer if they spend more than 50% of their work time in the District of Columbia and are employed when they apply for the benefit.

**Who are Covered Employers?**Any employer paying D.C. unemployment insurance taxes for one or more employees is covered by the program. D.C. As of July 1, 2022, the employer contribution decreases to .26% (from .62%) of the wages of each covered employee, defined as any employee who spends more than 50% of his or her work time for that employer working in the District of Columbia.

**What Paid Leave Compensation is Available?**The weekly benefit is based on the average weekly wage of the employee and its relationship to the DC minimum wage. The current maximum weekly benefit is $1,009 for leaves beginning on or after September 26, 2021.

**Can Employers Waive Participation in the District of Columbia Universal Paid Leave Plan?**DC paid family leave benefits are separate from any employer offered leave program. Employers may provide separate leave programs but this does not exempt them from making contributions to the Universal Paid Leave Fund.

**What are the Notification Requirements? **Employers will need to provide written notice to each employee:

  • at the time of hire,

  • annually

  • and when the employee requests covered leave.

The notices have not yet been updated to reflect the expanded leave.

**What are the Penalties for Failure to Comply? **Employers who fail to provide the required notice to employees is subject to a penalty not to exceed $100 for each covered employee to whom the notice was not provided and $100 for each day the notice was not provided to the employee.

Employers who violate any provision of the Universal Paid Leave Act may be subject to civil action.

A covered individual is disqualified from family and medical leave benefits for 3 years for willfully making a false statement or misrepresentation to obtain benefits.

Important Resources:Current Employee NoticePFL Employee HandbookPFL Employer HandbookDC DOES Paid Family Leave Website

The Author
Karen Hooper

VP, Senior Compliance Manager

Karen Hooper, CEBS, CMS, Fellow, is a Vice President and Senior Compliance Manager working closely with the Lead Benefit Counsel in Newfront's Employee Benefits division. She works closely with internal staff and clients regarding compliance issues, providing information, education and training.

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