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Last updated on: December 22nd, 2022

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

Employers must pay employees for all time that they are required to be on the work premises, on duty or at a prescribed location. Employees also must be paid for the time they are permitted to work, time spent traveling for work and time spent waiting on the work premises for assignments.


Employers must pay employees covered by the District of Columbia’s overtime law time-and-one-half their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.


Split Shift

The employer shall pay the employee for one additional hour at the minimum wage for each day during which the employee works a split shift. This provision is not applicable to an employee who lives on the premises of the employer.


Travel Expenses

The employer shall pay the cost of travel expenses incurred by the employee in performing the business of the employer.


Employers may deduct $2.12 for each meal made available. For four (4) hours or less of work, a maximum of one (1) meal deduction is allowed. For over four (4) hours of work, a maximum of two (2) meal deductions is allowed. For employees that live on the employer’s premises, no more than $6.36 per day can be deducted.


An employer must provide reasonable daily unpaid break periods for an employee to express breast milk. If the employer already provides a paid or unpaid break period to the employee, such time shall run concurrently with the required break period. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with a sanitary/private space, other than a bathroom or toilet stall, close to her work location where she can express milk. The location may include a childcare facility in close proximity to the employee’s work location. D.C. Code § 2-1402.82(d)

Annual Leave

State law does not require employers to provide any type of employee fringe benefits such as holiday pay, PTO, vacation pay, sick leave, etc. to their employees. However, when an employer chooses to provide such benefits that the employer is responsible for establishing a written policy outlining how those benefits are earned and paid.

Special Leave

Accrued Sick and Safe Leave

Under the District of Columbia’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, employers must provide employees with paid leave to care for their own or their family members’ illnesses, injuries or medical conditions and to obtain medical diagnoses or care for themselves or their family members. The law also requires employers to provide employees with paid leave for certain reasons if they or their family members are victims of stalking, domestic violence or sexual abuse.

    • 1 to 24 employees must provide each employee at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 87 hours worked, up to a maximum of three days per the calendar year;
    • 25 to 99 employees must provide each employee at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 43 hours worked, up to a maximum of five days per the calendar year;
    • 100 or more employees must provide each employee at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven days per the calendar year.

Accrual of paid leave is determined by the type of business, the number of employees an employer has, and the number of hours an employee works. For tipped employees of restaurants or bars, regardless of the number of employees the employer has, each tipped employee must accrue at least one (1) hour per 43 hours worked, up to five (5) days per the calendar year and be paid at the full minimum wage rate.

Universal Paid Leave Entitlement

Covered Employee 

Means an employee who spends 50% of work time for the covered employer working in D.C. or whose employment for the covered employer is based in D.C and who regularly spends a substantial amount of work in D.C. and not more than 50% of work time for that covered employer in another jurisdiction.


Covered Employer 

A covered employer is any individual, partnership, general contractor, subcontractor, association, corporation, business trust, or any group of persons who directly or indirectly or through an agent or any other person, including through the services of temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of an employee. A covered employer is also a self-employed individual who has opted into the paid-leave program.


Types of Paid Leave Benefits 


Qualifying Family Leave

Paid leave for up to a maximum amount of 12 workweeks within a 52-workweek period that an eligible individual may take in order to provide care or companionship to a family member for serious health conditions.


Qualifying Medical Leave 

Paid leave for up to a maximum of 12 workweeks within a 52-workweek period that an eligible employee may take for the employee’s own serious health condition. A serious health condition means a physical or mental illness, injury, or impairment that requires inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility, or continuing treatment or supervision at home by a health care provider or another competent individual.


Qualifying Parental Leave 

Paid leave for up to a maximum of 12 workweeks within a 52-workweek period of leave for the birth of a child, placement of a child for adoption, or assumption of legal guardianship of a child.

Qualifying Pre-natal Leave 

Employee is entitled to 2 weeks of pre-natal leave.


DC Family Medical Leave

The District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (‘DCFMLA’) requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees with 16 weeks of unpaid family leave and 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave during a 24 month period. An employee is eligible under the Act if she or he has been employed by the employer for at least one year without a break in service, and has at least 1,000 hours of service for the same employer over a period of 12 consecutive or non-consecutive months in the 7 preceding years. The one year of service requirement does not need to have immediately preceded the request for leave. Eligible circumstances for family leave under DCFMLA include the birth of a child, adopting a child, or caring for a child in foster care. Caring for a seriously ill family member is also eligible for family leave.

Parental Leave

The District of Columbia Parental Leave Act allows employees who are parents or guardians to take 24 hours of leave (paid or unpaid) during a 12 month period to attend school-related activities. School events include but are not limited to:

  • Parent-teacher conferences;
  • Concerts;
  • Plays;
  • Rehearsals,
  • Sporting Events; and
  • Other activities where the child is a participant or the subject of the event, not a spectator.

The employee must notify the employer 10 days before the requested leave unless the school-related activity was not reasonably foreseeable. The leave can be unpaid or paid family, vacation, personal, compensatory or leave bank. The employer may deny the leave if granting the leave would disrupt the employer’s business and make the achievement of production or service unusually difficult.

Pre-Natal Leave

As of October 1, 2021, eligible individuals may now also take up to 2 workweeks of prenatal leave for newly added qualifying reasons, separate from and in addition to parental leave that had already been available under the program. The new qualifying reasons for prenatal care include:

      • routine and specialty appointments, exams, and treatments associated with a pregnancy provided by a health care provider, including pre-natal check-ups and ultrasounds;
      • treatment for pregnancy complications;
      • bedrest that is required or prescribed by a health care provider; and
      • pre-natal physical therapy.
Jury Duty Leave

An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, threaten, or otherwise coerce an employee with respect to employment because the employee receives a summons, responds to a summons, serves as a juror, or attends Court for prospective jury service.

Donor Leave

City employees are allowed up to 30 days of paid leave for organ donation. (§1–612.03b).

If a private employer offers a donor paid leave, it may claim a tax credit equal to 25% of a donor’s salary during a period of up to 30 days for organ donation. (§47–1807.08).

Voting Leave

The District of Columbia enacted the Leave to Vote Amendment Act of 2020, which will grant all D.C. employees paid leave to vote in person. Upon an employee’s request, an employer will be required to provide the employee at least 2hours of paid leave to vote in person in any public election in the District. Employees ineligible to vote in D.C. will also be eligible to receive two hours of paid leave to vote in person in any election run by the jurisdiction in which the employee is eligible to vote.


Employers can require that employees requesting time off to vote to provide notice a reasonable length of time in advance, and does not address the amount or form of notice required. The D.C. law will permit employers to specify the hours during which an employee may take voting leave, including taking leave during an early voting period instead of on the actual day of the election.

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.