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DCPS: Paid Leave

What is Paid Family Leave (PFL)?

PFL provides eligible District government employees with up to eight work weeks of paid family leave within a 12-month period for the birth or placement of a child with an employee, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

What is the legal authority for PFL?

See “Government Family Leave Program Amendment Act of 2014” – Subtitle F, Government Family Leave Program, of Title I of DC Act 20-0377, the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (Act).

What is the effective date of PFL?

The effective date of PFL is October 1, 2014.

Do I have to be out on an approved Leave of Absence to be approved for PFL?

Yes, you have to be out on either approved Family and Medical Leave or Extended Leave in order to be approved for PFL.

If I am out on FMLA leave, will my FMLA period run concurrently with PFL?

Yes, if you’re out on FMLA leave your PFL will run concurrently with your approved FMLA leave.

Is Paid Family Leave job-protected leave?

Yes, PFL is job-protected leave.

Who is eligible to take advantage of the PFL program?

District government employees who experience a “qualifying event” and are neither temporary, intermittent, nor WAE are entitled to PFL.

What is a “qualifying event” under PFL?

Qualifying events include the following:

  1. Birth of a child of the employee;
  2. Legal placement of a child with the employee (such as through adoption, guardianship, or foster care);
  3. Placement of a child with the employee for whom the employee assumes and discharges parental responsibilities; and
  4. Care of an employee’s family member who has a serious health condition.

Can I use PFL for my own serious health condition?

No, PFL cannot be used for the employee’s own serious health condition.

Who is not eligible to take advantage of the PFL program?

Employees who are in WAE positions are not eligible for PFL. This means that Substitute Teachers are not eligible to participate in the PFL program. However, under the Sick and Safe Leave Act, employees in WAE positions may have the opportunity to use another category of paid leave (see HRAnswers for further details).

If I am a probationary employee, can I take advantage of the PFL program?

Yes, as a probationary employee you can take PFL, provided that you meet the other requirements of the PFL program. However, your probationary period shall be extended by the duration of leave used under the PFL program.

When can employees start using PFL?

Employees can start using PFL effective October 1, 2014.

Can I be paid PFL for events that occurred in the past?

Yes, you can be paid PFL for events that occurred in the past, under certain circumstances.  However, note the following:

  1. Pay will be made for the period of October 1, 2014 forward only.
  2. The qualifying event can occur prior to October 1, 2014.  However, the 12-month coverage period begins on the day of the qualifying event.

For example, Jane Smith gave birth on September 1, 2014. The birth of Jane’s baby is considered a PFL-qualifying event. Jane applies for eight consecutive weeks of PFL. Jane will be approved for four, not eight, weeks of PFL. Since the qualifying event occurred four work weeks prior to the effective date of PFL (October 1, 2014), Jane is entitled to PFL for only four weeks. Jane will not have the opportunity to apply for PFL again until June 1, 2015. At that time if Jane applies for PFL again, she must have experienced a different qualifying event.   

Can I be approved for PFL for more than one qualifying event in a 12-month period?

No, you can be approved for PFL for only one qualifying event in a 12-month period.

What if I don’t use all eight weeks of PFL for one qualifying event. Can I then be approved for additional PFL (up to the maximum of eight weeks) for a second qualifying event?

No, even if an employee does not use all eight weeks of PFL for one qualifying event, the employee is not entitled to PFL for a second qualifying event within the same 12-month period.

Can an employee be denied PFL?

Yes, an employee can be denied PFL under the following circumstances:

  1. Employee is either temporary, intermittent or WAE;
  2. Employee does not experience a PFL-qualifying event;
  3. Employee fails to provide a complete application and/or necessary supporting documentation;
  4. Employee already has used eight work weeks of PFL that commenced in the last 12 months; or
  5. Employee already has been approved for PFL for a qualifying event.

Will the use of PFL impact paid leave in other categories (e.g., annual? sick?)

No, the use of leave under the PFL program will not impact your annual or sick leave accruals, or your pay in the other paid leave categories.

Do I have to exhaust my other paid leaves before using PFL?

No, as the employee you have the ability to determine the order in which you want to use the paid leave in the various leave categories available to you. However, this must be indicated on your PFL application

Who maintains the records for employees relating to PFL?

The Leave of Absence team in the Office of Talent and Culture-Employee Services maintains all records and documentation received from employees related to PFL.

How do I apply for PFL?

To apply for PFL, the employee must log into Quickbase using his/her Username and Password. On the dashboard the employee will see the “DCPS Leave of Absence Requests” application.

  1. Review the section at the bottom of the dashboard entitled “When Should I Request a Leave of Absence?” to review the different types of Leaves of Absence for which you may qualify.
  2. View the chart on the left below for your current balance of FMLA leave hours available.
  3. View the chart on the right for your past application history.
  4. Ensure that you have the following information before beginning your application:
    1. Number of Leave of Absence hours you’re requesting
    2. Number of hours in each leave category (e.g., sick leave, annual leave) that you wish to use (or indicate “Exhaust” for the leave category)
    3. Order in which you wish to allocate your leave hours (e.g., (1) sick leave, (2) annual leave)
    4. Requested Start Date and End Date of Leave of Absence period
    5. Physician’s Statement
      Note that you cannot ‘Save’ a draft of your application. If required information is missing, the application will not ‘Save’ and you will be required to re-enter all information.
  5. Once you’re ready, click on the “Add Application” tab to the right. You will be walked through a series of eligibility determination questions and will upload the required documentation directly into Quickbase. Through this process you will have the opportunity to select that you wish to apply for PFL.
  6. Once your completed application has been processed, Employee Services will email a detailed notification letter to each employee. Employee Services also will provide a general update to the employee’s supervisor, Staffing Coordinator, and Payroll.

How long will it take for me to know whether my request for PFL has been approved?

Within five business days of the LOA team receiving your completed Leave of Absence Request in Quickbase, the employee will be sent a notification letter stating whether the request for PFL has been approved or denied.

Once any additional required documentation is provided, how long will it take for me to know whether my request for PFL has been approved?

Assuming the employee meets the ten calendar day requirement for providing additional required documentation, the employee will be sent a notification within five business days, stating whether the request for PFL has been approved or denied.

Who must approve an employee’s request to receive PFL?

The Leave of Absence team in Employee Services must approve the employee’s request for PFL.

Does an eligible employee have to use eight work weeks of PFL consecutively, or can s/he use the leave intermittently?

An eligible employee can utilize the leave consecutively or intermittently. However, the leave must be used in no less than one-hour increments.

If I am approved for PFL for a specific period of time (e.g., November 17-21, 2014), and that time needs to be extended, do I need to submit an updated request form and documentation?

Yes, when an employee wishes to extend the approved PFL period for the same qualifying event, the employee must submit a new application, and the new application must be approved.

Can an employee who is on leave under the PFL program secure outside employment?

No, an employee on PFL may not engage in outside employment if that employment would conflict with the employee’s regular tour of duty with the District government. However, outside employment would be permitted if that employment does not interfere with the employee’s regular tour of duty. For example, if an employee’s tour of duty is from 8 am to 5 pm, then the employee would be permitted to secure outside employment from 7 pm to 10 pm.