Legal Insider: How New Universal Paid Leave Law Affects Virginia Residents

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Plaza America that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters.

By Kimberly H. Berry, Esq.

The recently enacted D.C. Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act could affect residents in Northern Virginia and other states who work in the District of Columbia. The Act was made applicable to most employers that are required to pay for D.C. unemployment insurance.

The Act, however, does not apply to federal or D.C. public employers. Under the new Act, employees who live in Virginia or Maryland but work in Washington, D.C. will be entitled to the following additional forms of leave:

  1. Up to eight weeks of parental leave;
  2. Up to six weeks of family leave to care for a family member; and
  3. Up to two weeks of medical leave for a serious health condition.

An employee is restricted from taking more than eight weeks of the above-mentioned combined leave in a 52-week period. During such paid leave, an employee will receive up to a maximum of $1,000 per week during the leave period.

Under the Act, an employee has an obligation to notify an employer at least 10 days in advance of the leave (where foreseeable). To receive such leave, an employee is required to submit claims to the D.C. government, which will then notify the employer. The leave benefits above are in addition to, not in lieu of, any currently paid leave benefits by the employer.

Starting July 1, 2019, D.C. employers will begin paying a new payroll tax to fund the program. Employees working in D.C. will be able to access these new benefits beginning July 1, 2020.

There has been some discussion of potential amendments or future changes to the Act, but the provisions have been passed into law. Employers are prohibited from interfering with eligible individuals’ rights for leave under the Act. Additionally, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising or attempting to exercise their rights under the new Act.

If you need assistance with employment law matters in Virginia or the District of Columbia, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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