Washington, DC

This column is written and sponsored by Alan Lescht & Associates, PC, an employment litigation firm in Washington, DC, that handles cases involving contract disputes, wage and hour issues, discrimination and retaliation, wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation and security clearances.

With cold weather right around the corner, people around the District are lining up to get their flu shots. But did you know that DC law has one of the most generous employee sick leave policies in the nation?

What is FMLA leave?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows qualifying employees to take unpaid leave for medical reasons. Qualified employees may take leave because of their own illnesses or to take care of a sick family member. However, DC has its own FMLA that gives employees additional rights. The DC FMLA provides more weeks of leave to more people:

Do I qualify for DC FMLA leave?

You may be entitled to take DC FMLA leave if you meet all of these requirements:

  • You work for an employer in DC that has more than 20 employees.
  • You worked for your employer for at least one year with no break in service. Holidays and sick and personal leave don’t count as a break in service. You don’t have to work for a continuous one-period during the year immediately before FMLA leave. However, the continuous period must have occurred sometime within the past seven years.
  • You worked at least 1,000 hours during the past 12 months. Paid leave for holidays, illness and vacation, as well as military leave, count towards the hourly requirement.

When can I take FMLA leave?

Qualified employees can use leave for serious health issues, including pregnancy symptoms and any chronic condition. You can take up to 16 weeks of leave as needed or all at once.

You can take family leave when you birth or adopt a child, assume parental duties, or provide care to a family member with a serious health condition.

How do I request leave?

Each employer may have different rules. Information about FMLA leave should be posted in the workplace, included in employee handbooks, or at least provided when new employees are hired.

Most employers require employees to submit a written request for leave. You may be required to submit medical documentation to justify your request.

Within five days, your employer must give you written notice of your available leave. You may be required to use accrued paid leave towards your FMLA allowance. For example, say you have two weeks of accrued paid leave, and you request four weeks of FMLA leave. Your employer may grant your request to take four weeks of FMLA leave but require you to use two weeks of paid leave and then two weeks of unpaid leave. Unless you are a high-level employee, or in other circumstances, your job is protected while you’re on FMLA leave.

Do you have questions about FMLA leave?

If you have questions about FMLA leave, contact Alan Lescht and Associates. Call us at (202) 463-6036; send us an email; or visit our website and blog. Our 13 attorneys have vast experience in all areas of employment law. Super Lawyers, Washingtonian, Newsweek, AVVO and others have recognized us as a leading employment firm in DC.

DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes and is provided only to permit you to learn about Alan Lescht and Associates, P.C., and its services. This information is subject to change, may not apply in all cases and does not constitute legal advice. Contact an attorney to obtain legal advice about your case.


Subscribe to our mailing list