Paid family leave policy expands for some DC workers

Starting Saturday, Oct. 1, several workers in D.C. will be eligible for more paid family leave.

Those private sector employees in the District will see an increase from eight weeks to 12 weeks per year.

In July, the D.C. Council passed the Universal Paid Leave Emergency Amendment Act expanding the D.C. Paid Family Leave Program by a month.

The time off applies to parental leave, medical, and family leave.

D.C. will allow employees to have three months of time to bond with a new child, care for their own serious health condition, or care for a sick family member. 

The new policy also includes two weeks for prenatal leave.

Several people we spoke to in D.C. support the expansion.

"Family is important," said Yordonis Wiggins, a D.C. resident. "We need to be able to have that time to be with them whether expecting a child, something comes up, and you should be able to have that time and not stress about how to make it work."

The expansion also offers benefits up to a thousand dollars a week in wage replacement while on leave.

It is funded by a payroll tax on employers after a surplus in the D.C. Paid Family Leave program. 

The new leave policy technically begins in 2023, but employees can get retroactive pay for claims filed starting October 1.

It’s also possible D.C. government employees will soon see similar benefits. 

A bill for those workers passed its first reading and will see a second vote Oct. 4 — before it is sent to the mayor’s desk.