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washington d.c. paid family leave

What You Need to Know About the New Washington D.C. Paid Family Leave Program

States like New York, California, and Massachusetts have paid family leave programs so employees can take paid time off for medical and family issues. Along with six states, Washington D.C. is also beginning to offer a program starting July 2019.

Read on to learn all there is to know about the new Washington D.C. paid family leave program, including the contribution rate, employee eligibility, and more.

Washington D.C. paid family leave program

Washington D.C. paid family leave is an upcoming program fully-funded by employers. Because the program is employer-only, employers do not need to withhold premiums from employee wages.

Employers with at least one employee working in Washington D.C. are subject to the new paid family leave program. The size of your business (e.g., 50 employees) has no effect on whether you must contribute to the D.C. PFL.

You must contribute to Washington D.C. PFL if you are covered by the D.C. Unemployment Compensation Act. Basically, all Washington D.C. employers required to pay unemployment insurance (UI) must participate. This also includes non-profit organizations and household employers that pay unemployment insurance tax.

Self-employed individuals may choose to opt into the Washington D.C. family leave program.

Washington D.C. PFL gives qualified employees paid time off for certain family- or medical-related situations.

The program allows eligible employees to take paid time off to:

  • Bond with a new child (up to eight weeks)
  • Care for an ill family member with a serious health condition (up to six weeks)
  • Deal with their own serious health condition (up to two weeks)

Employers must begin remitting premiums starting July 1, 2019 for the period of April 1 to June 30. Eligible employees can begin taking paid family leave starting in July 2020.

Employee eligibility

There are a few factors that determine whether an employee is eligible for Washington D.C. PFL. An employee must meet one of the following requirements to receive PFL:

  • Works for a covered employer and spends more than 50% of time working in D.C. for that employer
  • Is employed by a covered employer in D.C., spends a substantial amount of work time for that employer, and spends no more than 50% of time in another jurisdiction
  • Is a self-employed individual who has opted into the Washington D.C. PFL program and performs at least 50% of their work in D.C.

Employees don’t need to work a certain amount of time to become eligible for Washington D.C. PFL. However, employers must report employee wages in order for employees to receive PFL benefits.

Contribution rate

Again, Washington D.C.’s paid family leave is solely funded by employers. This means employers do not withhold PFL from employee wages.

The Washington D.C. PFL program’s contribution rate for 2019 is 0.62% of each employee’s wages. Employers must pay their contributions quarterly to Washington D.C. The quarterly contributions are based on the past quarter’s wages.

The quarterly due dates include:

  • April 30 for Quarter 1
  • July 31 for Quarter 2
  • October 31 for Quarter 3
  • January 31 for Quarter 4

Unlike other payroll taxes, PFL does not have a wage limit.

Washington D.C. Paid Family Leave

Calculating D.C. PFL example

Say your employee earns $1,000 per paycheck before taxes and deductions. You pay your employee on a weekly basis. To calculate D.C. PFL, multiply your employee’s weekly gross pay by 0.62%.

Gross pay X 0.62% = Employer D.C. PFL contribution

$1,000 X 0.62% = $6.20

For this employee, you must contribute $6.20 per paycheck for D.C. PFL. Your annual contribution for this employee would be $322.40 ($6.20 X 52 weeks).

Remember, do not deduct D.C. PFL from the employee’s gross wages. You must contribute the premium as the employer.

Keep in mind your contributions might increase or decrease over time if your employees’ wages fluctuate (e.g., raises, demotions, etc.).

Washington D.C.’s website also offers a handy calculator to determine how much employers need to contribute per paycheck.

Reporting Washington D.C. PFL

Similar to unemployment insurance taxes, employers must also submit a quarterly wage report for paid family leave.

Use Form UC-30 to report employer PFL contributions to Washington D.C. each quarter. Employers record PFL contributions the same way they record and file quarterly reports for unemployment insurance. Applicable employers will receive Form UC-30 via mail.

You do not need to submit two UC-30 forms. You can use one form to cover both UI and PFL wages.

Payroll records and paid family leave

Employers must keep payroll records for at least three years.

Your records for D.C. PFL must include your employees’ names, SSNs, pay period dates, wages for each period, and dates of employment.

Important dates for D.C. PFL

Here are some important dates to keep in mind if you are an employee or employer in Washington D.C.:

  • July 1, 2019: Employers begin remitting PFL contributions
  • July 2020: Employees can begin taking paid leave

Washington D.C. Paid Family Leave

Washington D.C. PFL in a nutshell

If you feel overwhelmed by information, you’re not alone. Here’s a breakdown about the new Washington D.C. paid family leave program:

  • Begin remitting PFL contributions starting July 1, 2019
  • D.C. PFL is an employer-only contribution
  • D.C. employers must contribute 0.62% of each applicable employee’s wages
  • Self-employed individuals can opt into the program
  • D.C. PFL does not currently have a wage base limit
  • Employers must submit to Washington D.C. on a quarterly basis

Contact Washington D.C. for more information about the new paid family leave program. Washington D.C. also offers an online employer toolkit to answer questions about the PFL program.

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This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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