District of Columbia Sick Leave Law




Employer Requirements

The District of Columbia requires employers of all sizes to provide employees with paid sick leave, although the amount of sick leave required to be given employees differs based on the size of the employer.

If an employer has 100 or more employees, the employer must provide each employee not less than one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours worked by an employee. An employer may cap the annual accrual of sick leave for each employee at 7 days.

If an employer has between 25 and 99 employees, the employer must provide each employee not less than one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every 43 hours worked by an employee. An employer may cap the annual accrual of sick leave for each employee at 5 days.

If an employer has 24 or fewer employees, the employer must provide each employee not less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 87 hours worked by an employee. An employer may cap the annual accrual of sick leave for each employee at 3 days.

The number of employees an employer has for purposes of the sick leave requirements is based on the average number of full-time equivalent employees the employer has each month in the prior calendar year.
D.C. Code 32-131.02(a)




Beauty, Hair, and Nail Salon Wage Rate Calculation

If a beauty, hair, or nail salon pays its employees by commission, the wage rate to be paid for paid sick leave shall be determined by dividing the employee’s total earnings in wages and commissions from the prior calendar year by the total number of hours worked as a commission employee in the prior calendar year. If the employee did not work as a commissioned employee in the prior calendar year, the wage rate shall be determined by dividing the total earning in wages and commissions for the current year by the total hours worked by the employee in the current year as a commissioned employee.
D.C. Code 32-131.02(f)



Annual Use, Carry Over, and Payment Upon Separation from Employment

An employer is only required to allow an employee to take paid sick leave during a calendar year up to the amount the employee is legally allowed to accrue in a given year. However, an employer must allow an employee to carry over from one calendar year to the next any unused accrued sick leave. An employer is not required to pay an employee for unused accrued sick leave upon separation from employment regardless of whether the separation is due to a discharge or voluntary resignation.
D.C. Code 32-131.02(c)



Lawful Reasons for Use

Employees may use accrued paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  • a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee;
  • to obtain professional medical or preventative care;
  • to care for a child, a parent, a spouse, domestic partner, or any other family member who has any of the conditions or needs for diagnosis or care described in paragraphs (1) and (2) ; or
  • if the employee or the employee’s family member is a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse and the absence is directly related to social or legal services related to the stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse, including:
    • to seek medical attention for the employee or the employee’s family member to resulting from the physical or psychological injury or disability caused by the domestic violence or sexual abuse;
    • to obtain services from a victim services organization;
    • to obtain psychological or other counseling;
    • to temporarily or permanently relocate;
    • to take legal action, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from the domestic violence or sexual abuse; or
    • to take other actions to enhance the physical, psychological, or economic health or safety of the employee or the employee’s family member or to enhance the safety of those who associate or work with the employee.

D.C. Code 32-131.02(b)

Although employees are entitled to take sick leave, they must make reasonable efforts to schedule any leave so that it does not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Additionally, the employee may agree to work additional hour or shifts during the same or next pay period instead of taking paid sick leave. However, the employer cannot compel the employee to do so.
D.C. Code 32-131.02(d)



Loss of Income Requirement

If an employee does not suffer a laws of income when absent from work, an employer is not required to provide paid sick leave.
D.C. Code 32-131.02(e)



Employer’s Notice Requirement

An employer is required to post in a conspicuous place a notice, provided by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, setting forth the pertinent provisions of the paid sick leave law.
D.C. Code 32-131.09



Employee’s Notice Requirement

To be eligible to take paid sick leave, if the need for leave is foreseeable, an employee must provide his/her employer at least ten (10) days written notice, or as early as otherwise possible, of the need for the leave and must include in the notice the reason for the leave and its expected duration. If the need for the leave is unforeseeable, the employee must make an oral request for the leave before the start of the shift for which they intend to take the leave. In the case of an emergency, the employee must notify the employer by the start of his/her next work shift or within 24 hours, whichever occurs first.
D.C. Code 32-131.03

For an employee who take three (3) or more consecutive days of paid leave, an employer may require the employee provide certification of the reason for the leave. The certification may take the form of:

  • a signed document from a healthcare provider
  • a police report indicating the employee was a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse;
  • a court order; or
  • a signed statement from a victim and witness advocate or domestic violence counselor affirming the employee is involved in legal action related to stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse.

D.C. Code 32-131.04