Universal Paid Leave (UPL)
Washington, D.C.'s Universal Paid Leave Act has incredibly broad reach. All employers that directly or indirectly employ or exercise control over the terms and conditions of employees working in the district and that are required to pay unemployment insurance on behalf of their employees are covered by the act regardless of whether the employer has a physical location in Washington, D.C. The act creates a paid leave system funded by employers for those employed in the district. Covered employers are required to contribute an amount equal to 0.62 percent of the wages of each of their covered employees to the Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund. Eligible individuals may then file a claim for paid leave benefits for a qualifying leave event, with those benefits to be paid out of the fund.
An "eligible individual" is an individual who has been a "covered employee" during some or all of the 52 calendar weeks immediately preceding the qualifying event for which paid leave is being taken or is a self-employed individual who earned self-employment income for work performed primarily in the district during some or all of the 52 calendar weeks immediately preceding the qualifying event for which paid leave is being taken and has opted into the paid leave program. The maximum benefit capped at $1,000/week. The act provides for three types of paid leave benefits:
- Parental paid leave. Employees are entitled to up to eight weeks of paid parental leave, which may be taken within one year following the birth of a child, placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or placement of a child where the eligible individual legally assumes and discharges parental responsibility.
- Family paid leave. Employees are entitled to up to six weeks of paid family leave under the act so the employee can provide care or companionship to a family member who has a diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition. Under the act, "family member" is broadly defined.
- Medical paid leave. An eligible employee is entitled to two weeks of paid medical leave following his or her diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition.