ERIC Comments on DC Universal Paid Leave Program Benefits Regulations

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) submitted comments to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services regarding the D.C. Universal Paid Leave proposed program benefits regulations.

ERIC’s comments focused on four areas:

  • Coordination of Benefits – It is critical that UPL benefits run concurrently, and are not allowed to stack, with similar benefits available under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), D.C. FMLA, or other paid leave benefits. The proposed regulations currently include clear language stating that UPL benefits will run concurrently with federal and D.C. FMLA benefits and that coordination of UPL benefits with employer-provided paid leave benefits will be left to the policies of the employer. However, the regulations do not address how UPL benefits would interact with D.C. paid sick leave requirements, or whether employers may require an employee to exhaust available paid sick leave before accessing UPL benefits.
  • Employer Point of Contact – The proposed regulations require employees to disclose their supervisor’s contact information to DOES to act as a point of contact for communications between the employer and DOES. In order for large employers to effectively manage communications and leave claims for its employees, employers should be able to designate a point of contact of its choosing to manage communications between DOES and the employer.
  • Disclosure of Benefits Received – Under the proposed regulations, the amount of any wage replacement benefits paid to an employee are not disclosed to their employer. For employers interested in providing supplemental paid leave benefits to fully replace an employee’s lost wages while avoiding overpayment beyond an employee’s ordinary base wages, it is critical that employees are able to determine the benefit amount that an employee is receiving through UPL.
  • Employer Retaliation – The underlying legislation creating the Program prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for applying for or making use of UPL benefits. The proposed regulations briefly state that an employee may file a complaint alleging employer violation of the act, including retaliation, and lists several examples of employer retaliation; however, this description does not adequately put a limit on what qualifies as retaliation and does not provide a process or standard by which employers may disprove the claim of retaliation.

ERIC previously submitted testimony on the first phase of regulations, which covered administration of the Program’s employer tax contributions and were finalized earlier this year.

Click here to read ERIC’s letter.