Sick Leave


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
May 25, 2015 When Superseded 12  


The District government is committed to the health and wellness of all its employees. As part of this commitment, the District government provides a sick leave benefit to be used for medical appointments, recovery in the event of an illness, and to care for family members. This issuance provides additional guidance for utilizing sick leave to include eligibility requirements, accrual rates, and how to request sick leave.

General Guidelines

District government employees should use sick leave to care for their own health, and to care for the health of their family members. Eligible employees are entitled to accrue sick leave. Agency heads or supervisors must grant sick leave to an employee for the following reasons:

  1. Personal medical, dental, or optical (eye) examinations or treatment;
  2. Incapacitation and inability to perform duties due to physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth;
  3. The employee’s presence at work will jeopardize the health of others because of exposure to a communicable disease (as determined by an appropriate health authority or health care provider);
  4. Providing care for a family member who is incapacitated by a medical or mental condition, or to attend to a family member receiving medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment;
  5. Provide care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  6. To care for a son or daughter following a birth or adoption; and
  7. Death of a family member, provided that the absence does not exceed three (3) workdays and the employee provides acceptable evidence of the family member’s death. 

An employee may only use sick leave on days that they would otherwise be scheduled to perform work. Sick leave may only be requested and used in one (1) hour increments.

NOTE: If an employee is on annual leave, and an event occurs that would qualify for sick leave, the employee may use sick leave. Annual leave may not be substituted for sick leave that has been applied for and granted.


Employees are entitled to earn sick leave unless they are a temporary employee appointed for less than 90 consecutive days.

NOTE: If a temporary employee has his or her appointment extended beyond 90 days without a break in service, or if there are successive temporary appointments without a break in service that add up to 90 days or longer, the employee is entitled to receive retroactive credit for leave earned from the date of the initial appointment, and is entitled to earn leave thereafter.

Full-Time Employees

Full-time employees are eligible to accrue sick leave. To be considered as full-time, an employee must work a basic workweek of forty (40) hours within six (6) calendar days.

Part-Time Employees

Part-time employees are entitled to accrue sick leave unless otherwise excluded. To be eligible, part-time employees must work for at least one day per week for both weeks in a biweekly pay period.

Intermittent (Temporary) Employees

Intermittent employees are eligible to accrue leave under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, which provides paid leave for:

  1. Absences resulting from a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition;
  2. Absences resulting from obtaining professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventative medical care;
  3. Absences to provide care, or to obtain a medical diagnosis for a family member who is suffering from illness, injury, or medical condition; and
  4. Absences resulting from being or caring for a family member who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse.

Absences related to domestic violence or sexual abuse may be used for seeking medical attention, obtaining services from a victim services organization, obtaining counseling, relocating, taking legal action, or any action that enhances the safety of the employee, their family members, or those who associate with the employee.

Intermittent employees are eligible for this benefit if they have been continuously employed under a “When Actually Employed” (WAE) appointment for at least 90 days. For more information see DPM 1279, Accrued Sick and Safe Leave.

Regular full and part-time employees do not earn accrued safe and sick leave under the Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act.

Earning Leave

Sick Leave is credited at the beginning of each pay period. Sick leave balances do not have a maximum limit. Any unused sick leave accrued in a year rolls over into subsequent years.

Full-time Employees 4 hours per biweekly pay period
Part-time Employees 1 hour every 20 hours in a pay status, excluding overtime hours


Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act

Eligible District government employees who accrue leave under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act will accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked per biweekly pay period, not to exceed seven days a year. Accrual will begin at the beginning of employment, but accrued hours will not be available for use until after ninety (90) days of service with the District government.

Transferring to Another District Agency

District government employees who transfer to another District government agency without a break in service will retain any accrued sick leave.

Uniformed Members of FEMS Firefighting Devision

Uniformed members of the Firefighting Division of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Department who transfer to another agency of the District government, or to a non-uniformed division of FEMS shall have their sick leave adjusted by dividing their accrued sick leave hours by one and two-tenths (1.2), rounded up to the next whole hour

Transferring from a Federal Agency

A federal government employee who is hired or appointed by the District government without a break in service will be credited with the sick leave balance that they had at the time of separation from federal service.

Using Sick Leave

Upon discovery of substantial evidence of a pattern or practice of suspected leave abuse, immediate supervisors have the option to place an employee on leave restriction using the following steps:

  1. Request Sick Leave
  2. Receive Approval
  3. Report Leave Taken

Step 1: Request Sick Leave

To use sick leave, employees must file a written request within an agency’s prescribed time limits. Employees should consult their agency for specific guidelines on how to request sick leave. If no specific guidelines exist, employees should submit their leave requests through PeopleSoft (see Attachment 1 – PeopleSoft Procedures for Requesting and Reporting Sick Leave).

Requesting Sick Leave for Doctor’s Appointments

Employees must make sick leave requests at least 24 hours in advance for medical, dental, or eye examinations or treatments. Employees should also be prepared to submit supporting evidence of the appointment according to their agency’s policy.

Requesting Unscheduled Leave

In the event of an unexpected illness or medical emergency, employees may request unscheduled sick leave. If an employee needs to take unscheduled leave, he or she should inform their immediate supervisor, or another supervisor within their chain of command, at least two (2) hours before his or her scheduled tour of duty, or as soon as the need arises (whichever comes first).

DCHR recommends that agencies inform their employees in writing whether notifying a coworker, leaving a voicemail for a supervisor, sending an email, or submitting a leave request for unscheduled sick leave in Peoplesoft are sufficient ways for an employee to contact or notify their supervisor. Agencies may also establish their own written policy for the required notification period according to their specific operational requirements.

Family and Medical Leave: If the reason for requesting advanced sick leave qualifies for leave under the District of Columbia Family Medical Leave Act (D.C. FMLA), any advanced sick leave granted will count towards the entitlement under D.C. FMLA.

Step 2: Receive Approval

Agencies may grant sick leave only when supported by a medical certificate or appropriate document signed by the employee. DCHR recommends that for absences longer than three (3) workdays, agencies require a medical certificate or other administratively acceptable evidence for the absence. An agency may choose to require evidence for shorter periods of absence, if warranted or required by an agency specific policy.

Approval of Unscheduled Sick Leave

Employees may use unscheduled sick leave without supervisory approval unless they have been placed on leave restriction, or when there is a uniform agency policy to the contrary. Although approval is generally not required, employees must still notify their supervisor if they need to use unscheduled sick leave for unexpected illnesses or medical emergencies.

Step 3: Report Leave Taken

Employees must record any approved and unscheduled sick leave taken into PeopleSoft using the appropriate time reporting code (TRC). Please refer to the following table for proper usage. For specific procedures on how to enter the codes into PeopleSoft, refer to Attachment 1 – PeopleSoft Procedures for Requesting and Reporting Sick Leave.

SLTS Sick Leave Scheduled. Use for scheduled sick leave (leave requested and approved at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance).
SLT Sick Leave Unscheduled. Use for unscheduled sick leave (leave that is not requested and approved at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance).
FMSS Family Sick Scheduled. Use for sick leave taken as part of the D.C. FMLA program.


Collective Bargaining Agreements

The provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, for employees covered thereby, will take precedence over the provisions of this E-DPM issuance, to the extent that there is a difference.



This issuance applies to all employees in District government agencies subordinate to the Mayor’s personnel authority. Independent personnel authorities may elect to follow the provisions of this issuance.

Additional Information

For additional information concerning this instruction, please contact the DCHR’s Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to


  1. Attachment 1 - PeopleSoft Procedures for Requesting and Reporting Sick Leave

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on May 25, 2015, midnight