DC law requires paid leave for employees who get COVID shots

Private-sector employees in the District now have to be offered two hours of paid leave to get a COVID-19 shot — both for themselves and for their children.

An emergency law signed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser last week also requires up to eight hours of paid leave for recovery time.

The law will stay in effect until the middle of next year.

The District wants to “remove every obstacle that might be in place that prevents our residents and workers from getting the vaccine,” D.C. Council Member Elissa Silverman told WTOP.

“We still think there are people out there who haven’t gotten the vaccine just because they can’t afford to do it. This just provides an incentive for people to do it sooner rather than later.”

The law allows employers to require documentation of the date and time that employees got vaccinated. And there’s a cap of 48 hours compensated leave for a COVID-19 shot over one year.

It also gives job protection to workers affected by COVID-19 and continues existing unpaid leave for COVID-related purposes.

The emergency bill continues unpaid COVID-19 leave under the District’s Family and Medical Leave Act. It can be used if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and has to quarantine or isolate. It can also be used if an employee is caring for a family member or member of their household who is sick or must quarantine, or if a school or child care provider is not available.

As with time off for shots, employers are allowed to require documentation of these circumstances.

“We need to do everything possible to get all eligible residents and workers vaccinated and boosted,” Silverman said. “That’s how we will beat COVID-19 and safely reopen our city completely.”

Chris Cruise

Christopher Cruise is a writer, reporter and anchor at WTOP. He has worked at The Voice of America, where he anchored newscasts for the Learning English branch. He is a backup host for Westwood’s morning radio news programs, “America in the Morning” and “First Light,” and contributes to them weekly.

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