Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IV. Labor and Workforce Protections during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.


§ 51–181. Wage replacement.

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of District law, but subject to applicable federal laws and regulations, during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01, an affected employee shall be eligible for unemployment insurance in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b)(1) Upon application, an affected employee shall receive unemployment insurance compensation ("UI"), which the Director of the Department of Employment Services shall administer under the Unemployment Compensation Program established pursuant to subchapter I of this chapter.

(2) An affected employee shall be eligible for UI regardless of whether the:

(A) Employer has provided a date certain for the employee's return to work; or

(B) Employee has a reasonable expectation of continued employment with the current employer.

(3) For an affected employee, the term "most recent work" shall mean the employer for whom the individual last performed at least one day of employment as that term is defined by § 51-101(2).

(c) Benefits paid pursuant to this section shall not be charged to the experience rating accounts of employers.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the term "affected employee" means an employee who, except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, is otherwise eligible for UI pursuant to § 51-109 and who is determined by the Mayor to have become unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the circumstances giving rise to the public health emergency. The term "affected employee" includes an employee who has been quarantined or isolated by the Department of Health or any other applicable District or federal agency, an employee who has self-quarantined or self-isolated in a manner consistent with the recommendations or guidance of the Department of Health, any other applicable District or federal agency, or a medical professional, or an employee of an employer that ceased or reduced operations due to an order or guidance from the Mayor or the Department of Health or a reduction in business revenue resulting from the circumstances giving rise to the public health emergency, as determined by the Mayor, all as demonstrated by reasonable documentation required by the Mayor or the Mayor's designee.

(e) For the purposes of a public health emergency, "good cause" as set forth in § 51-110 shall include:

(1) An employer's failure to timely comply with a written directive from the Mayor or the Department of Health in relation to public safety measures necessary to protect its employees or the public during the public health emergency; or

(2) An employer's requirements that an employee be physically present in the workplace despite the employee having:

(A) Been quarantined or isolated by the Department of Health or any other applicable District or federal agency; or

(B) Self-quarantined or self-isolated in a manner consistent with the recommendations or guidance of the Department of Health, any other applicable District or federal agency, or a medical professional.

(f) If the Mayor determines that the payment of UI under this section may not be made from the District Unemployment Fund or from the unemployment fund of another jurisdiction due to federal law or regulation, payment may be made by the Mayor from any other source of funds that is available.

(g) Notwithstanding any provision of District law, but subject to applicable federal laws and regulations, during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01, the requirements of § 51-109(a)(4)(B) and (5) shall not apply.


(June 8, 2020, D.C. Act 23-328, § 101, 67 DCR 7598.)