Washington, D.C.

Be in the Know: New Rules on Leave

Washington, D.C. requires paid medical leave (PML) and paid family leave (PFL) income replacement benefits for eligible workers who need time off from work for qualifying reasons. The program is commonly referred to as Universal Paid Leave (UPL).

Coverage and cost

Learn more about your state rules and eligibility

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Covered employers

All non-government, private sector employers except those that are exempt from D.C. taxes by federal law or treaty. Self-employed individuals who have opted into the program.

Coverage options

D.C. plan only. Private plans are not allowed.


Covered employers must pay a 0.26% quarterly payroll tax based on the immediate past quarter of gross or total wages paid, much like the unemployment insurance tax. Employer-funded program.

Employee eligibility

Employees who have spent 50% of the time working in D.C. in the year immediately preceding the leave or regularly spend a substantial amount of time working in D.C. and work less than 50% of their time in another jurisdiction.

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Leave Reasons

Caring for a family member, bonding, and medical.

Job protection

This law does not provide job protection.


Employees receive up to 90% of their average weekly wage on a sliding scale. Maximum weekly benefit is $1,118.

12 weeks for parental leave, family leave and medical leave. Additional 2 weeks for qualifying prenatal leave. No waiting period.

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Timeline and key dates

Effective July 1, 2021.

Need more information?

Visit Washington, D.C.'s website for additional details.

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How Unum can help

Washington, D.C. requires coverage from the D.C. program so Unum is unable to offer D.C. plans.

Still looking for more information?

Check out our latest in leave content, and explore the State PFML Guide and our Leave Toolkit.

Have questions?

Reach out to our sales team to learn more about Unum’s state PFML and absence management solutions.