The Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 (“Sick & Safe Leave”) requires that employers provide a minimum amount of paid leave for specific medical and domestic violence situations to employees working in DC. On February 22, 2014, the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 (“Amendment”) became effective and expanded the Sick & Safe Leave definitions of employer and employee:

“Employer” means any entity which employs, or exercises control over, an employee either directly or indirectly, including through an agency.

“Employee” excludes: volunteers, certain religious officials, babysitters, independent contractors, students, and certain health care workers.

Prior to the Amendment, employees were not included until they had been employed one year, with the same employer, without a break in service, and at least 1,000 hours of service in the previous 12 months. Additionally, tipped restaurant wait staff and bartenders had been excluded, while religious officials and volunteers had not been excluded. While there is no longer a tenure requirement before employees start accruing leave, employees may now be required to complete up to 90 days of service before using accrued leave hours.

The number of hours of Sick & Safe Leave an employer is required to provide each employee has not changed and is based on the size of the employer as follows:

  • 100 or more employees:1 hour for every 37 hours worked up to 7 days per calendar year;
  • 25 to 99 employees:1 hour for every 43 hours worked up to 5 days per calendar year; and
  • 24 or fewer employees:1 hour for every 87 hours worked up to 3 days per calendar year.

Since paid leave hours accumulate based on the hours the employee works, part-time employees are included, but it will take them longer to earn their hours.

Employers should review and amend their leave policy to ensure compliance.  Employers do not need to make any changes if they already have a leave policy that 1) provides at least the minimum amount of leave, 2) allows carryover of accrued hours, 3) allows accrued leave to be used in accordance with Sick & Safe Leave, and 4) applies to employees under the amended definition. However, all employers are required to post, in a conspicuous place, a notice explaining employees’ rights. The Official Notice poster provided by DC Department of Employment Services has not yet been updated to reflect the Amendment, but a revised poster is expected soon.

August 2014 UPDATE: The revised Official Notice poster is available online.