DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA LABOR LAWS
Minimum wage in Washington, D.C. is currently $15.50/hr.
DC extends FLSA minimum wage standards to all household employees, excluding companions. Pay may be no less than the greater of the state or federal minimum wage. Employees under the age of 18 years old may be paid the minimum wage established by the US government, rather than the Washington, D.C. minimum wage.
If you schedule an employee to work at least 4 hours per day, then you must pay them for at least 4 hours of work, even if the employee is sent home early.
All live-out workers receive an overtime differential of 1.5 times the hourly wage for hours over 40 in a work week. Overtime compensation is not required for live-in employees. Overtime or premium pay is not required for hours worked in excess of 8 per day or on weekends or holidays.
Paid Time Off
DC domestic workers entitled to overtime payments accrue 1 hour of sick and safe leave for every 87 hours worked, to a maximum of 24 hours/year. If you already provide a minimum of 3 paid sick days, you do not need to do the accrual.
If you do not specify in your employment policies or work agreement with your employee, you are required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment.
Paid Family Leave
Employers are required to allow employees to take paid family sick leave. The amount of paid leave depends on the specific situation of the employee:
Up to 8 weeks for an employee to bond with a new child.
Up to 6 weeks for an employee to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
Up to 2 weeks for an employee’s own serious health condition.
Paid family leave benefits are funded through a small tax paid by employers on a quarterly basis. In turn, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services pays employees who require paid family leave benefits.
Unpaid Time Off
You are obligated to allow 24 hours of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for employees who are parents to attend or participate in a child’s school-related activities. The employee must give notice of the need for leave at least 10 days in advance, or as soon as otherwise possible.
In the District of Columbia, you must permit employees to take off from work, unpaid, on April 16, District of Columbia Emancipation Day, unless doing so would disrupt the operations and make production or service delivery particularly difficult. An employee must notify you of their desire to take time off on April 16 at least 10 days in advance of that date.
The federal government establishes and updates a maximum rate for non-taxable mileage reimbursement each year. The current rate is $0.585 per mile.
DC allows you to pay your household worker daily, weekly, bi-weekly or semi-monthly, but does not permit monthly pay cycles. Pay upon separation is due on the next scheduled pay date or within 7 days, whichever is sooner.
DC law requires all employees receive a written pay rate notice at time of hire and any time the hourly rate changes.
Each notice should include the rates of pay (this includes the overtime rate if applicable), payroll frequency, and regular payday for the employee. You also need to provide your name, address and telephone number.
You can find a sample pay rate notice here.
Employment Contract Requirements
DC does not require a written employment agreement. However, a free sample work agreement can be found here.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
DC requires that all household employers obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance for every employee that works 240 hours or more per quarter. HWS ALWAYS recommends obtaining a Workers Compensation Insurance policy for the protection it provides in the event of a work-related injury sustained by your employee. A policy can usually be obtained easily and cost effectively by contacting your Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance provider. HWS can help you obtain this insurance through our insurance partner (just give us a call).
State Unemployment Insurance
For Washington D.C., you pay 2.7% in taxes on the first $9000 of wages paid to each employee. If you have previous employees, you may be subject to a different rate.
Frequency of Tax Filings
In the District of Columbia, you have the option to file wage information and pay contributions on a quarterly or annual basis. However, regardless if you file annually or quarterly, you are required to record monthly employment levels and wages paid to each employee during each quarter. HWS recommends filing quarterly.