Applies to employers in the District of Columbia that pay unemployment insurance on behalf of its employees.
On September 24, 2021, the DC paid family leave program was amended to temporarily expand benefits for eligible individuals. The amendments took effect October 1, 2021.
The Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Support Act, which is currently awaiting Congressional review, contains amendments that are nearly identical and, if enacted, would make permanent many of the amendments summarized below.
As a reminder, eligible individuals can take up to 8 weeks of parental leave, 2 weeks (expanded to 6 weeks, see below) of personal medical leave, and 6 weeks of family leave to care for a sick family member, up to a combined maximum of 8 workweeks of paid leave within a 52-workweek period.
As of October 1, 2021, eligible individuals may now also take up to 2 workweeks of prenatal leave. Prenatal leave is separate from and in addition to parental leave, meaning an eligible individual could take up to 10 weeks of combined leave during the 52-workweek period.
The reasons for prenatal care include:
- Routine and specialty appointments, exams, and treatments associated with a pregnancy including pre-natal check-ups and ultrasounds;
- Treatment for pregnancy complications;
- Bedrest that is required or prescribed by a health care provider; and
- Prenatal physical therapy.
Prenatal leave is available prior to the birth of a baby unlike parental leave which can only be taken after the birth of a baby.
Personal medical leave
The amendments add medical care related to miscarriage and stillbirth as reasons for which an individual can take personal medical leave.
The amendments also expand personal medical leave from 2 workweeks to 6 workweeks for claims with approved leave dates that begin on or after September 26, 2021 through September 30, 2022. Parental leave and family care leave remain at 8 weeks and 6 weeks, respectively.
The combined maximum number of workweeks of all forms of paid leave within a 52- workweek period remains at 8 weeks, except when an individual takes both parental leave (up to 8 weeks) and prenatal leave (up to 2 weeks), in which case the individual can take up to 10 weeks of combined leave during the 52-workweek period.
Beginning in 2022, these durations may be increased or decreased, but not below the limits in effect prior to October 1, 2021, based on the projected balance of the Universal Paid Leave Fund and other fiscal matters.
Calculation of PFL Contribution Wages
The amendments expand the wages that are subject to PFL calculation for claims filed after October 1, 2021 but before the 365th day following the end of the public health emergency. During this timeframe, the calculation of an individual’s average weekly wage subject to contribution for PFL benefits will be based on the four quarters with the highest wages from the preceding 10 quarters, as opposed to the preceding 5 quarters.
Waiver of Waiting Period
The amendments waive the one-week waiting period for claims filed after October 1, 2021 but before the 365th day following the end of the public health emergency.
Maximum Benefit Increase
The maximum weekly PFL benefit will increase from $1,000 to $1,009 for all claims with approved leave dates that begin on or after September 26, 2021.
The Department of Employment Services has provided an updated Paid Family Leave poster which must be posted in a place that is accessible to all covered employees by February 1, 2022.
The information contained in this Benefit Beat is not intended to be legal, accounting, or other professional advice, nor are these comments directed to specific situations. This information is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This information is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. You must consult your own attorney or tax advisor for assistance in specific situations. This information is provided as-is, with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.