Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II. Parental Leave.


§ 32–521.01. Definitions.

For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Employer” means any individual, firm, association, corporation, the District of Columbia government, any receiver or trustee of any individual firm, association, or corporation, or the legal representative of a deceased employer, who uses the services of an individual (“employee”) for pay in the District.

(1A) “Employee” means any individual whose services are used for pay in the District by any of the entities provided for in paragraph (1) of this section.

(2) “Parent” means:

(A) The natural mother or father of a child;

(B) A person who has legal custody of a child;

(C) A person who acts as a guardian of a child regardless of whether he or she has been appointed legally as such;

(D) An aunt, uncle, or grandparent of a child; or

(E) A person who is married to, or in a domestic partnership with a person listed in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of this paragraph.

(3) “School-related event” means an activity sponsored by either a school or an associated organization such as a parent-teacher association. A school-related event includes: a student performance such as a concert, play, or rehearsal; the sporting game of a school team or practice; a meeting with a teacher or counselor; or any similar type of activity. A school-related event shall involve the parent’s child directly either as participant or subject but not as a spectator.

(4) “District of Columbia Emancipation Day” means April 16th of each year.

(5) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4).


(Aug. 17, 1994, D.C. Law 10-146, § 2, 41 DCR 4477; Apr. 18, 1996, D.C. Law 11-110, § 44(a), 43 DCR 530; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-237, § 4(a), 48 DCR 597; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 18-33, § 5, 56 DCR 4269.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 32-1201.

1981 Ed., § 36-1601.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1411.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-33, in par. (2)(E), substituted “married to, or in a domestic partnership with,” for “married to”; and added par. (5).

D.C. Law 13-237 added pars. (1A) and (4).

Cross References

Complaints of violations, enforcement, see § 2-1411.03.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(a) of District of Columbia Emancipation Day Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-20, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2699).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 4(a) of the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-307, April 7, 2000, 47 DCR 2710).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4(a) of District of Columbia Emancipation Day Temporary Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-152, July 18, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 6102).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority pursuant to D.C. Law 10-146, the “D.C. Parental Leave Act of 1994”, see Mayor’s Order 95-66, May 2, 1995.

Resolutions

Resolution 14-409, the “Council Emancipation Day Delegation Emergency Resolution of 2002”, was approved effective April 9, 2002.


§ 32–521.02. Amount of leave; denial; form; notice.

(a) Except as provided in this section, an employee who is a parent shall be entitled to a total of 24 hours leave during any 12 month period to attend or participate in a school-related event for his or her child.

(b) Except as provided in this section, an employee shall be entitled to a day of leave each year on April 16th, the District of Columbia Emancipation Day.

(c) An employer may deny the use of leave provided by subsections (a) and (b) of this section only if the granting of leave would disrupt the employer’s business and make the achievement of production or service delivery unusually difficult.

(d) The leave provided by this section may consist of unpaid leave unless the parent or employee elects to use any paid family, vacation, personal, compensatory, or leave bank leave that has been provided by the employer.

(e) An employee shall notify the employer of the desire for leave to attend a school-related event or to celebrate the District of Columbia Emancipation Day at least 10 calendar days in advance, unless, in the case of a school event, the need to attend the school-related event cannot be reasonably foreseen.


(Aug. 17, 1994, D.C. Law 10-146, § 3, 41 DCR 4477; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-237, § 4(b), 48 DCR 597.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 32-1202.

1981 Ed., § 36-1602.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-1203.

Effect of Amendments

“(d) Any employee shall notify the employer of the desire for leave to attend a school-related event at least 10 calendar days prior to the event, unless the need to attend the school-related event cannot be reasonably foreseen.”

“(c) The leave provided by this section may consist of unpaid leave unless the parent elects to use any paid family, vacation, personal, compensatory, or leave bank leave that has been provided by the employer.

“(b) An employer may deny the leave provided by subsection (a) of this section only if the granting of leave would disrupt the employer’s business and make the achievement of production or service delivery unusually difficult.

“(a) Except as provided in this section, an employee who is a parent shall be entitled to a total of 24 hours leave during any 12 month period to attend or participate in school-related events for his or her child.

D.C. Law 13-237 rewrote the section which had read:

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(b) of District of Columbia Emancipation Day Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-20, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2699).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 4(b) of the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-307, April 7, 2000, 47 DCR 2710).

For temporary (90-day) authorization of legislative findings, see § 2 of the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-307, April 7, 2000, 47 DCR 2710).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2, 4(a) of District of Columbia Emancipation Day Temporary Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-152, July 18, 2000, law notification 47 DCR 6102).


§ 32–521.03. Effect of leave on employment benefits or seniority.

An employee who takes leave pursuant to § 32-1202 shall not lose any employment benefit or seniority accrued before or during the date of such leave.


(Aug. 17, 1994, D.C. Law 10-146, § 4, 41 DCR 4477.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 32-1203.

1981 Ed., § 36-1603.


§ 32–521.04. Administrative enforcement procedure; relief.

(a) The Mayor shall provide an administrative procedure pursuant to which a person claimed to be aggrieved under this subchapter may file a complaint against an employer alleged to have violated this subchapter. A complaint shall be filed within 1 year of the occurrence or discovery of the alleged violation of this subchapter.

(b) The administrative procedure shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) An investigation of the complaint and an attempt to resolve the complaint by conference, conciliation, or persuasion;

(2) If the complaint is not resolved, a determination on the existence of probable cause to believe a violation of this subchapter has occurred;

(3) If there is a determination that probable cause exists, the issuance and service of a written notice and a copy of the complaint to the employer alleged to have committed the violation that requires the employer to answer the charges of the complaint at a formal hearing;

(4) A hearing conducted in accordance with procedures that the Mayor shall promulgate pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2;

(5) A decision and order accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law;

(6) If there is a determination that an employer committed a violation of this subchapter, the issuance of an order that requires the employer to pay the employee damages in an amount equal to:

(A) Any wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation denied or lost to the employee due to the violation plus interest on the amount calculated at the rate prescribed in § 28-3302(b) or (c);

(B) An amount equal to the greater of:

(i) The amount determined under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; or

(ii) Consequential damages not to exceed an amount equal to 3 times the amount determined under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph plus any medical expenses not covered by the health insurance of the employee; and

(C) A reduction in damages, within the discretion of the trier of fact, for an employer who violates this subchapter and proves that the violation occurred in good faith and that the employer had reasonable grounds to believe that the employer’s action or omission was not in violation of this subchapter; and

(7) A provision that authorizes the award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in addition to other relief awarded under this subchapter.

(c) Any person who is adversely affected or aggrieved by an order or decision issued pursuant to subsection (b) of this section is entitled to judicial review of the order or decision in accordance with § 2-510, upon filing a written petition for review in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

(d)(1) If the Mayor determines that the employer has not complied with an order after 20 days following service of the order, the Mayor shall certify the matter to the Corporation Counsel and to any other agency as may be appropriate for enforcement.

(2) The Corporation Counsel shall institute, in the name of the District, a civil proceeding that may include seeking injunctive relief, as is necessary to obtain complete compliance with the order.

(3) An enforcement action shall not be instituted pending judicial review as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(e) The entire administrative enforcement procedure outlined in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, including the formal hearing, shall take no longer than 150 days to complete from the date the complaint is filed. If the Mayor fails to make a reasonable effort to comply with the deadline requirements of the administrative enforcement provisions prescribed by this subsection and the rules promulgated by the Mayor, the person who initiated the administrative enforcement procedure against the employer may file a civil action against the employer pursuant to § 32-1205.


(Aug. 17, 1994, D.C. Law 10-146, § 5, 41 DCR 4477; Apr. 18, 1996, D.C. Law 11-110, § 44(b), 43 DCR 530.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 32-1204.

1981 Ed., § 36-1604.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-1205.


§ 32–521.05. Enforcement by civil action.

(a) Subject to the provisions in subsection (b) of this section, an employee or the Mayor may bring a civil action against any employer to enforce the provisions of this subchapter in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(b) No civil action may be commenced more than 1 year after the occurrence or discovery of the alleged violation of this subchapter.

(c) If a court determines that an employer violated any provision of this subchapter, the damages provision prescribed in § 32-1204(b)(6) and (c) shall apply.


(Aug. 17, 1994, D.C. Law 10-146, § 6, 41 DCR 4477.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 32-1205.

1981 Ed., § 36-1605.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-1204.


§ 32–521.06. Notice.

(a) The Mayor shall devise and an employer shall post and maintain in a conspicuous place, a notice that sets forth excerpts from or summaries of the pertinent provisions of this subchapter and information that pertains to the filing of a complaint under this subchapter.

(b) Any employer who willfully violates this section shall be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each day that employer fails to post the notice.


(Aug. 17, 1994, D.C. Law 10-146, § 7, 41 DCR 4477.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 32-1206.

1981 Ed., § 36-1606.