|Effective Date:||Expiration Date:||Chapters:|
|Jan. 1, 2023||When Superseded||12|
|Paid Family and Medical Leave Program|
|Applying for Leave|
|Retroactive PFML Applications for Medical Leave Benefit|
|Agency Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Coordinators|
|Paid Family and Medical Leave Supplemental Bank|
|Taking Leave and Timekeeping|
|Use of Intermittent PFML|
|Records and Confidentiality|
The District of Columbia government provides its employees with paid leave to address both planned and unplanned life events without risking their financial well-being. Eligible employees may access up to 8 weeks of Paid Family and Medical leave in a 12-month period for qualifying reasons. This issuance provides guidance on employee eligibility and the procedures for accessing these benefits, as well as on the Paid Family and Medical Leave Bank and procedures for using this leave.
The District government offers eligible employees up to 8 weeks of Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) to care for a family member or to welcome a new family member. Now, eligible employees may also use up to 2 weeks to care for their own serious health condition, within a 12-month period following a qualifying event.
The amount of time provided for family or medical leave depends on the nature of the health condition. Time available is determined by the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) or subsequent revisions by the World Health Organization, along with the healthcare provider’s assessment. Employees may use their PFML benefit to address eligible events within 12 months after experiencing the qualifying event.
When needed, employees may use accrued sick or other applicable leave in conjunction with PFML for a qualifying event. Employees do not have to exhaust their other leave entitlements (e.g., sick, or annual leave) before they can request and use PFML for a qualifying leave event.
Employees may use PFML in as little as one-hour increments. However, agencies may establish policies that requires PFML use in one-day increments if the agency deems it necessary to avoid overtime costs.
To qualify for PFML leave, an employee must:
An agency may request that an employee provide an appropriate certification from a licensed healthcare provider.
Probationary employees are eligible to receive PFML. Probationary employees who use PFML must enter a one-year continuation of service agreement. A probationary employee’s use of PFML also extends their probationary period by the amount of leave used. If the employee voluntarily separates before the end of their continuation of service agreement, they are indebted to the District for the salary amount paid for their use of PFML. This obligation is considered an erroneous payment under Chapter 29 of the District personnel regulations and may only be repaid through lump sum leave payment deductions.
Employees must use PeopleSoft to submit their application and supporting documentation to their agency Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Coordinator.
Employees must submit supporting documents establishing eligibility for the qualifying event. Supporting documents may include:
On the PeopleSoft form, employees must include:
If supporting documentation is not available at the time of application, an agency may conditionally approve the application and credit the employee with PFML equal to the needed time.
The FMLA Coordinator evaluates the application materials and notifies the employee if they qualify for PFML, DCFMLA and/or federal FMLA.
All PFML and FMLA-related forms are found under the “Forms” link on the DCHR intranet site at https://dchr.in.dc.gov under “Forms.”
An employee may not expand their total allotment of DC FMLA and/or federal leave protections by applying for additional leave under the PFML program. PFML leave counts towards the 16 workweeks provided under the DC FMLA.
When an employee requests and is approved for PFML, following their use of their own accrued leave for events protected by DCFMLA or federal FMLA, the employee must work with the agency FMLA Coordinator and the agency Human Resources Advisor to create a leave adjustment.
PFML is available for up to 8 workweeks total in a 12-month period for any combination of qualifying leave reasons. In cases where an employee takes PFML leave for multiple qualifying events, the 12-month period begins following the start of the first qualifying event. The 12-month period does not reset if the employee experiences a second qualifying event within the original 12-month period. For example, an employee uses 2 workweeks for the birth of their child beginning November 1, 2022. Their 12-month PFML period begins November 1, 2022, and ends November 2, 2023. Within those 12 months, the employee uses an additional 4 workweeks of PFML leave to care for a family member’s serious health condition. They have used a total of 6 of their 8 workweeks for that 12-month period, and they will not be eligible for a new 8-week potential benefit until after November 2, 2023.
Employees may receive up to two workweeks of retroactive PFML leave for a qualifying medical leave event, so long as the leave will not cause the employee to exceed 8 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period. Retroactive PFML leave will count against an employee’s 8 workweeks of family and medical leave for the 12-month period.
Agencies shall review applications for retroactive PFML for qualifying medical leave events that occurred between October 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Employees must submit a request for retroactive PFML approval for events within that timeframe between January 1, 2023, and March 31, 2023.
To receive retroactive leave, employees must submit a request in PeopleSoft via the PFML tile, or to their agency FMLA Coordinator in writing. Each request must include:
Agencies must process and execute the appropriate action within 20 days of receipt of an employee’s request for retroactive medical leave.
Each agency head must appoint an agency FMLA Coordinator. Each FMLA coordinator must have sufficient training and/or experience in Family and Medical Leave procedures. Agencies are also responsible for ensuring their employees are informed of the name(s) and contact information of the agency FMLA Coordinator(s). To avoid potential conflicts of interest, and except when the size of the agency necessitates otherwise, an agency head may not serve as the FMLA Coordinator for their agency.
The agency FMLA Coordinator serves as the primary contact in the agency on matters relating to paid family and medical leave. FMLA Coordinators must process Family and Medical Leave Application forms as follows:
The “PFML Bank” managed by DCHR contains annual, restored, and universal leave donated by District Government employees. Employees who must be absent for a qualifying family or medical leave event and who have exhausted their available leave may apply for leave from the PFML Bank.
Employees may receive a maximum of 8 workweeks of leave from the PFML Bank in a one-year period. After 12 months, unused leave is returned to the PFML Bank. Recipients will not accrue annual or sick leave while using leave from the PFML Bank. PFML Bank leave used will count towards an employee’s maximum leave allotment under DC FMLA.
DCHR may create agreements with the Council, independent agencies, and subordinate agencies with independent personnel authority to allow employees who do not accrue annual or sick leave to participate in the PFML Bank.
Employees may request PFML Bank leave when:
Eligible employees who expect to be absent for more than 10 days due to a qualifying event may submit a written request to DCHR to withdraw leave from the PFML bank. If the employee can’t make the request themselves, they may designate a representative to act on their behalf.
The application must include:
If the recipient’s employment ends, use of PFML Bank leave ends on that date. Separated employees are not entitled to any form of payment for unused, transferred Bank leave upon their separation from employment. Also, if the recipient is no longer experiencing the qualifying leave event, or it has been 12 months since the starting date of the event, the transferred leave is returned to the PFML Bank.
Employees may contribute to the PFML Bank by submitting a written request to DCHR. The request must include the specific number of hours and the type of leave (accrued annual, restored, or universal) they wish to donate to the bank. Leave contributors may request that their leave be designated for a specific employee. Contributing employees may donate up to one-half of the total amount of annual or universal leave they are entitled to for that year. There is no limit to the amount of restored leave one may donate to the PFML Bank. Under special circumstances, the personnel authority may waive the limits to annual or universal leave donations.
In addition, excess hours of leave that an employee cannot carry over into a new year are automatically donated to the PFML Bank.
The approval process begins with the personnel authority for the recipient of the leave. The personnel authority ensures the application is for a qualifying event and that the employee is expected to be out of the office for at least 10 days. Next, they check that the proposed recipient does not have annual, restored, universal, sick, compensatory, or other applicable leave time available to cover the absence from work, and that the recipient is not eligible for any additional paid medical or family leave.
As the administrator of the PFML Bank, DCHR has final approval authority. DCHR may approve an amount less than the original request. However, DCHR may not deny applications from Council employees or independent agencies that have been approved by the appropriate authority. DCHR may deny an application if an applicable agreement with the independent agency is not signed or if the request is for more than the balance of the PFML Bank.
In reviewing applications, DCHR may consider the leave record of the proposed leave recipient, the probability that the employee will separate from service, and any exigency or disruption in service that the agency, independent agency, or, in the case of the Council, the relevant Council office, may experience.
DCHR will notify employees or their representatives of a decision within 15 calendar days of receipt of their application to withdraw from the PFML Bank when practicable, and in all cases within 30 calendar days of receipt of the application.
Each year, on or before March 1, the Mayor must provide a PFML Bank report to the Council, consisting of the following information government-wide and at the agency level:
For time recording purposes, and when practicable, the employee or their timekeeper (or equivalent) must request time off for paid family or medical leave using standard PeopleSoft eTime leave procedures or in accordance with agency-specific policies for leave requests.
When approved for paid family or medical leave, the employee, or their timekeeper (or equivalent) must submit time using the paid family and medical leave time reporting code (“Paid Family and Medical Leave – Taken”) (PFML-T) for the hour(s) that the employee is on approved leave.
Employees may typically use PFML on an hourly basis. However, agencies may establish agency or divisional policies that require employees to use PFML in full-day increments when necessary to avoid overtime costs.
Jason regularly works an eight-hour day, has been approved for intermittent PFML, and anticipates he will only need four hours to take a family member to an eye surgery. When entering the PFML hours in PeopleSoft, he may record four hours of regular pay and four hours of PFML to take his family member to the appointment.
Deborah works a compressed work schedule of nine-hour days and is approved for intermittent PFML. She requires the use of two hours to take a family member to physical therapy. When entering the PFML hours in PeopleSoft, she reports two hours of PFML and seven hours of regular pay.
Micaela works a regular schedule of 8-hour days for her tour of duty. She is approved for PFML and needs to use 4 hours to attend her medical appointment. However, her agency has a policy that requires employees to use PFML in whole-day increments. Even though Micaela only needs 4 hours for the appointment, she must use 8 hours of PFML and take leave for the whole day.
If approved for paid family leave, the employee must use their leave within 12 months of the qualifying event. Otherwise, any unused paid family and medical leave credited to the employee for that event will expire and will no longer be available for use.
If an employee has been approved for PFML but uses any of their accrued leave before the PFML is credited in PeopleSoft, the agency FMLA Coordinator must request an adjustment to have the accrued leave restored prior to the date the PFML leave is to expire. Any agency requests for adjustments received by the Office of Pay and Retirement Services (OPRS) after the expiration date will not be processed.
In the event an employee has been approved for PFML on an intermittent basis, the employee must submit a leave request in the same manner as sick leave as provided in § 1242.5 of Chapter 12 of the D.C. personnel regulations or a collective bargaining agreement (if applicable). Though PFML has been previously approved by the FMLA Coordinator, an employee must submit a leave request(s) to their supervisor for any upcoming absence(s) to the extent possible so that any project or staffing concerns can be addressed. Additionally, an employee needing intermittent leave must work with their immediate supervisor to schedule such leave to avoid disrupting government operations.
As stated previously, PFML may be used in hourly increments unless an agency policy establishes otherwise.
While agencies have designated FMLA Coordinators to respond to PFML-related issues, other important points of contact in the FMLA process may include the agency timekeeper, Payroll Supervisor, or Quality Assurance Liaison. The FMLA Coordinator can respond to general PFML-related concerns and timekeepers (and their equivalent) support FMLA Coordinators by responding to questions concerning time entry after PFML hours are approved in PeopleSoft. Timekeepers also confirm whether hours are entered in accordance with the program’s time reporting requirements (such as whether an employee is using the correct time reporting code(s)).
Except as provided in an applicable collective bargaining agreement, District government employees who qualify for and are approved for leave under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program are not entitled to receive premium pay for any hours(s) in which the employee receives paid family or medical leave. In addition, PFML hours do not qualify as hours “worked” for overtime eligibility purposes.
Agency FMLA Coordinators are responsible for maintaining all applications, supporting documentation, and agency notifications and responses for each employee who submits a request for paid family or medical leave. These records must be kept confidential and maintained electronically in PeopleSoft. Records relating to PFML typically shall not be stored in any fashion outside of PeopleSoft except as may be directed by the agency’s legal counsel.
Agency FMLA Coordinators who have access to employee information pertaining to the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program are responsible and accountable for safeguarding the integrity, security, and confidentiality of these records regardless of form. FMLA Coordinators must protect such records from unauthorized access, use, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure.
The provisions of this issuance apply to those District government agencies that are subordinate to the Mayor’s personnel authority. Other personnel authorities or independent agencies may adopt any or all of these procedures to provide guidance to employees under their respective jurisdictions. The District Government Paid Leave Enhancement Amendment Act of 2022 (D.C. Act 24-607) has broader applicability.
Employees may not directly or indirectly promise to give another employee benefits under this rule. This includes appointments, compensation, and promotions. Likewise, employees may not suggest a reprisal, including withholding appointments, reducing compensation, or demoting employees due to their rights to contribute, receive and use leave under this program.
As used in this issuance:
“Child” means a person under 21 years of age; a person, regardless of age, who is substantially dependent upon the employee by reason of physical or mental disability; or a person who is under 23 years of age who is a full-time student at an accredited college or university.
“Eligible employee” means a District government employee who has experienced a qualifying event, is not a temporary employee, and does not work on an intermittent schedule.
“Family member” means 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 employee stands in loco parentis; 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 employee when the eligible employee was a child; an individual to whom an eligible employee is related by domestic partnership or marriage; a grandparent of an eligible employee; or, a sibling of an eligible employee.
“Intermittent employee” means an individual serving on an intermittent basis (also referred to as “when actually employed”) who does not work a full-time or part-time prescheduled regular tour of duty. This employee provides occasional or irregular services on programs or projects on an as-needed basis.
“Intermittent usage” means the periodic use, as opposed to continuous use, of PFML for a qualifying purpose.
“Leave contributor” means an employee who contributes accrued annual, restored, or universal leave to the PFML Bank.
“Leave recipient” means an eligible employee whose PFML application has been approved.
“Miscarriage” means a pregnant employee’s loss of their pregnancy before 20 weeks’ gestation.
“Prolonged absence” means an absence from work of 10 or more days.
“Qualifying family leave” means leave that employees take following a qualifying family leave event.
“Qualifying family leave event” means an employee’s family member has or is diagnosed with a serious health condition.
“Qualifying medical leave” means leave that eligible employees may take after a qualifying medical leave event.
“Qualifying medical leave event” means, for an eligible employee, the diagnosis or occurrence of a serious health condition, which shall include the occurrence of a stillbirth and the medical care related to a miscarriage.
“Qualifying parental leave event” means one of the following: the birth of a child of an eligible employee; the legal placement of a child with an eligible employee (such as through adoption, guardianship, or foster care); or, the placement with an eligible employee of a child for whom the eligible employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibilities.
“Serious health condition” means a physical or mental illness, injury, or impairment that involves 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.
“Stillbirth” means the death of a fetus at 20 weeks’ gestation or later for an employee who was pregnant with the fetus.
“Temporary Employee” means an employee appointed for less than 90 days (see D.C. Act 20-566 (Jan. 9, 2015)).
“Workweek” means the customary work schedule for the period of Sunday through Saturday. For a typical, full-time employee, this will mean a workweek of Monday through Friday, eight hours per day, or 40 hours per workweek. A workweek is based on the employee’s typical tour of duty and may be more or less than 40 hours per workweek.
For additional information concerning the provisions of this issuance, employees are encouraged to contact their agency FMLA Coordinator, or the Department of Human Resources’ Employee Relations Unit, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to DCHREmployeeRelations@dc.gov or email@example.com.
In addition, employees are encouraged to contact their agency FMLA Coordinator to review any agency-specific policy materials developed pertaining to the PFML.
Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on Feb. 3, 2023, 3:35 p.m.