Code of the District of Columbia

§ 32–541.01(Perm). Definitions.

For the purposes of subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32, the term:

(1) "Average weekly wage" means the total wages subject to contribution under § 32-541.03 earned by an eligible individual during the 4 out of the 5 quarters immediately preceding the qualifying event during which the eligible individual's wages were highest, divided by 52.

(2) "Bonding" means the formation of a close emotional and psychological relationship between a parent or primary caregiver and an infant or child.

(3) "Covered employee" means an employee of a covered employer:

(A) Who spends more than 50% of his or her work time for that employer working in the District of Columbia; or

(B) Whose employment for the covered employer is based in the District of Columbia and who regularly spends a substantial amount of his or her work time for that covered employer in the District of Columbia and not more than 50% of his or her work time for that covered employer in another jurisdiction.

(4) "Covered employer" means:

(A) Any individual, partnership, general contractor, subcontractor, association, corporation, business trust, or any group of persons who directly or indirectly or through an agent or any other person, including through the services of a temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of an employee and is required to pay unemployment insurance on behalf of its employees by § 51-103; provided, that the term "covered employer" shall not include the United States, the District of Columbia, or any employer that the District of Columbia is not authorized to tax under federal law or treaty; or

(B) A self-employed individual who has opted into the paid-leave program established pursuant to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32.

(5) "D.C. FMLA" means the subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 32.

(6) "Eligible individual" means a person whose claim for paid-leave benefits is not based on employment for the United States, the District of Columbia, or an employer that the District of Columbia is not authorized to tax under federal law or treaty, who meets the requirements of subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32 and regulations issued pursuant to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32 and:

(A) 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

(B) Is a self-employed individual who has:

(i) Opted into the paid-leave program established pursuant to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32; and

(ii) Earned self-employment income for work performed more than 50% of the time in the District of Columbia during some or all of the 52 calendar weeks immediately preceding the qualifying event for which paid leave is being taken.

(7) "Family member" means:

(A) A biological, adopted, or foster son or daughter, a stepson or stepdaughter, a legal ward, a son or daughter of a domestic partner, or a person to whom an eligible individual stands in loco parentis;

(B) A biological, foster, or adoptive parent, a parent-in-law, a stepparent, a legal guardian, or other person who stood in loco parentis to an eligible individual when the eligible individual was a child;

(C) A person to whom an eligible individual is related by domestic partnership, as defined by § 32-701(4), or marriage;

(D) A grandparent of an eligible individual; or

(E) A sibling of an eligible individual.

(8) "Health care provider" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-501(5).

(9) "Intermittent leave" means paid leave taken in increments of no less than one day, rather than for one continuous period of time.

(10) "Open enrollment period" means:

(A) The first 90 days after the date on which the Mayor, pursuant to § 32-541.03, begins to collect contributions to the Universal Paid Leave Fund;

(B) The 60 days following the commencement of business in the District of Columbia by a self-employed individual; or

(C) Beginning with calendar year 2020 and in each calendar year thereafter, the months of November and December.

(11) "Paid-leave benefits" means the monetary benefits provided pursuant to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32.

(12) "Qualifying family leave" means paid leave for up to a maximum amount of 6 workweeks within a 52-workweek period that an eligible individual may take in order to provide care or companionship to a family member because of the occurrence of a qualifying family leave event.

(13) "Qualifying family leave event" means the diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition of a family member of an eligible individual.

(14) "Qualifying medical leave" means paid leave for up to a maximum of 2 workweeks within a 52-workweek period that an eligible individual may take following the occurrence of a qualifying medical leave event.

(15) "Qualifying medical leave event" means the diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition of an eligible individual.

(16) "Qualifying parental leave" means paid leave for up to a maximum of 8 workweeks within a 52-workweek period that an eligible individual may take within one year of the occurrence of a qualifying parental leave event.

(17) "Qualifying parental leave event" means events, including bonding, associated with:

(A) The birth of a child of an eligible individual;

(B) The placement of a child with an eligible individual for adoption or foster care; or

(C) The placement of a child with an eligible individual for whom the eligible individual legally assumes and discharges parental responsibility.

(18) "Retaliate" means to:

(A) Commit any form of intimidation, threat, reprisal, harassment, discrimination, or adverse employment action, including discipline, discharge, suspension, transfer or assignment to a lesser position in terms of job classification, job security, or other condition of employment;

(B) Reduce pay or hours or deny an individual additional hours;

(C) Inform another employer that the person has engaged in activities protected by subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32; or

(D) Report, or threaten to report, the actual or suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee, former employee, or family member of an employee or former employee, to a federal, state, or local agency.

(19) "Self-employment income" means gross income earned from carrying on a trade or business as a sole proprietor, an independent contractor, or a member of a partnership.

(20) "Serious health condition" means a physical or mental illness, injury, or impairment that requires inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility, or continuing treatment or supervision at home by a health care provider or other competent individual. For the purposes of this definition:

(A)(i) The term "treatment" includes, but is not limited to, examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition.

(ii) Treatment does not include routine physical examinations, eye examinations, or dental examinations.

(iii) A regimen of continuing treatment such as the taking of over-the-counter medications, bed rest, or similar activities that can be initiated without a visit to a health care provider is not, by itself, sufficient to constitute continuing treatment for the purposes of subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32.

(B) The term "inpatient care" is the care of a patient in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility for the duration of one overnight period or longer, or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.

(C) The term "incapacity" means inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment of the serious health condition, or recovery from the serious health condition.

(D) Conditions for which cosmetic treatments are administered are not serious health conditions; provided, that procedures related to an individual's gender transition shall not be considered cosmetic treatments for the purposes of this subparagraph.

(E) A serious health condition involving continuing treatment by a health care provider means any one or more of the following:

(i) A period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive, full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also involves:

(I) Treatment of 2 or more times within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating circumstances exist, by a health care provider, by a nurse under direct supervision of a health care provider, or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider. For the purposes of this sub-subparagraph, "extenuating circumstances" means circumstances beyond an individual's control that prevent the follow-up visit from occurring as planned by the health care provider;

(II) The first, or only, in-person treatment visit within 10 days after the first day of incapacity if extenuating circumstances exist; or

(III) Treatment by a health care provider on at least one occasion, which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the health care provider;

(ii) Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one which:

(I) Requires 2 or more periodic visits annually for treatment by a health care provider or by a nurse under direct supervision of a health care provider;

(II) Continues over an extended period of time, which shall include recurring episodes of a single underlying condition; and

(III) May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity;

(iii) A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The family member of an eligible individual must be under continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider; or

(iv) Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery from the treatments) by a health care provider or by a provider of health care services under orders of, or on referral by, a health care provider, for:

(I) Restorative surgery after an accident or other injury; or

(II) A condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive, full calendar days in the absence of medical intervention or treatment.

(21) "Uniform Paid Leave Fund" means the Uniform Paid Leave Fund established by § 32-551.01

(22) "Wages" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 51-101(3); provided, that the term "wages" also shall include self-employment income earned by a self-employed individual who has opted into the paid-leave program established pursuant to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 32.


(Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-264, § 101, 64 DCR 2121; Dec. 3, 2020, D.C. Law 23-149, § 2163, 67 DCR 10493.)