DC requires paid sick leave

Work does not inoculate employees against illness, but most states do not require paid sick leave.  However, Washington DC’s employment law for workers requires paid time off for sickness.

DC’s mandatory sick leave law

Washington DC and 13 states mandate some form of mandatory paid sick leave. All public and private businesses in DC are covered by this law.

An employer with one to 24 employees must allocate an hour of leave for every 87 hours that the employee works. These employees may earn up to three days of sick leave each year.

Employers with 25 to 99 employers must give them an hour of leave for every 43 hours worked. Employees can earn a maximum five days of sick leave each year.

Employers that have at least 100 employees must allocate an hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. The employees may earn up to seven days of sick leave each year.


Federal law does not require paid sick leave. The Family and Medica Leave Act, however, requires some employers to offer unpaid sick leave in certain medical situations where an employee or a member of their family is sick. Employers who violate the FMLA may face fines and lawsuits.

FMLA governs employees who were with the same employer for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before leave. Employees are eligible for leave only if their employer has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile area.

Employees are entitled to unpaid medical leave for the birth of their child if the employee must care for a newborn up to one years old and the employee adopted or fostered a child within one year of placement with the employee. FMLA also provides leave if the employee has a health condition that prevents them from performing their job or the employee must care for their child, spouse or parent who has a serious health condition.

Families First Coronavirus Act

This temporary federal measure requires some employers to provide expanded leave to workers who must quarantine because they are sick, exposed to the virus, have a family member in quarantine or have a child at home because their school or day care is closed.

FFCRA governs employers with no more than 50 workers. Exemptions may be granted to employers with less than 50 employees if additional paid leave would threaten business viability. This measure contains wage limits.

Workers may lose important wage rights without legal representation. An attorney can help them pursue their legal rights against employers.