As of 1/3/21
- D.C. is not meeting the metrics it needs to begin Phase 3. See Phase 2 for detailed guidelines.
- Maryland entered Phase III on September 4th. Adjusted guidelines are updated on MD Roadmap to Recovery. Notable restrictions:
- The governor issued an emergency order reducing indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50%, effective November 11 at 5 p.m.
- Effective Friday, November 20, at 5 p.m., all bars, restaurants, and venues serving food and alcohol must close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for the purposes of carryout and delivery.
- Virginia entered Phase III on July 1, 2020. Read more at https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.
- No limits on capacity for restaurants and non-essential retail
- Childcare facilities allowed to open
- D.C. entered Phase II on Monday, June 22, 2020. New restrictions are in place starting Wed Nov 25, 2020. These include:
- The limit for outdoor gatherings has been reduced from 50 to 25 people.
- Indoor gatherings are now limited to 10 people, both within homes and elsewhere.
- Restaurants may stay open until midnight, but alcohol sales, service and consumption must end at 10 p.m (excluding carry-out and delivery).
- The number of people inside houses of worship has been reduced from 100 to 50 people, or down from 50% to 25% capacity, depending on which number is smaller.
- All indoor group exercise classes and all outdoor group classes with 25 or more people must be suspended. Individuals can still go workout solo in gyms.
- The live entertainment pilot will be temporarily suspended.
- The maximum indoor capacity of restaurants will be reduced from 50% to 25%, effective Monday, Dec. 14, in order to give restaurants enough time to adjust.
- Nonessential, non-retail businesses should continue to have teleworking operations in place to the greatest extent possible.
- Venues participating in the entertainment pilot program will be contacted by the mayor’s office to deal with performances that have already been booked.
- Further information can be found at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/phasetwo.
- D.C. entered Phase I on May 29, 2020 before entering Phase II on June 22nd. Specific guidance including continued health safety measures and business reopenings including restaurants, childcare services, cosmetology/barber professionals, dental care, rideshare services, gyms/fitness studios can be found at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/phaseone.
- Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which requires certain employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons. For updated guidance and information on the Sept 16, 2020 revisions: COVID-19 and the American Workplace. These provisions apply through December 31, 2020.
- In partnership with several health care vendors, D.C. will be offering on-demand content and live and recorded health and wellness seminars to aid employee efforts to manage and maintain their health and well-being. Find them here: DC Dept of Human Resources
- On May 27, 2020, the Mayor signed COVID-19 Support Emergency Amendment Act (CSEA), D.C. Act 23-326, which replaces all previous Coronavirus-related legislation and temporarily amends the DC Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) to create a new COVID-19 job-protected leave. CSEA also amended the District Paid Sick and Safe Leave Act (D.C. Code § 32-531.02a) which requires certain employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons based on FFCRA. The key provisions under this act include:
- Employee who has worked for 30 days for an employer of any size may use up to 16 weeks of “COVID-19” leave for self, family, household member, or childcare closure
- Read the full act dated August 25, 2020 here.
- Department of Employment Services (DOES) remains operational. Due to increased call volume, the DOES recommends applying for unemployment compensation online at dcnetworks.org.
- CDC Interim Guidance for Business and Employers– How to Plan, Prepare, and Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019.
- Fair Labor Standards Act Questions and Answers:
DC ECONOMIC AND REVENUE TRENDS
- DC’s percentage drop in the private sector jobs has been comparable to the national average, even though its industry mix is significantly different.
- However, in May, the US nationally had recouped some of its earlier job losses, while DC job totals continued to decline. This difference is explained primarily by public, not private, sector employment.
- As of the June 2020 report (last released), federal government employment in DC for May was up by 0.8%, while the private sector lost 7.7%
- Suburban DC employment decreased 6.7% compared to the year earlier
- Professional and technical services added over 4,333 jobs in DC over the last year despite extensive job losses in other sectors of the economy
- Tax collections have been down 13.9% from the past year, including for sales, non-withholding, and business income taxes
- US economic forecasts (June Blue Chip Indicators) estimate that real GDP growth would be at -3.9% for the FY 2020, and 1.1% for the FY 2021.
- IHS Markit and Moody’s both forecast that FY 2021 will experience:
- Similar job losses
- Slow population growth
- Modest increase in income
- Source: District of Columbia Economic and Revenue Trends: June 2020
- The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary June job estimates show an increase of 52,400 jobs for a total of 2,551,200 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 51,000 jobs, while the public sector payroll increased by 1,400 jobs. (https://does.dc.gov/release/washington-metro-region-adds-52400-jobs-june)
- If people come into Washington, DC from a high-risk area either because they are returning home after performing an essential duty or because they are coming to D.C. in order to perform an essential duty, then they don’t need to abide by the 14-day self-quarantine. However, they should only leave their residence in order to perform the essential activities. (Source: Situational Update Presentation 07.24.20)
- Please see these links for the most up to date information regarding employment:
Family & Medical Leave
D.C.: “The one-year employment requirement and 1,000-hour work requirement shall not apply to an employee who has been ordered or recommended to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19. To learn more, please contact the Office for Wage & Hour at email@example.com”
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act- March 18th 2020
- Qualifications: inability to work due to needing to care for children at home due to child care or babysitter being unavailable due to coronavirus. Employees must have worked for their employer for 30+ days. Private businesses with < 500 employees and all public employers
- Payment: “Not less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, up to $200/day and $10,000 over the benefit period. The first 10 days taken may be unpaid, but the employee may use other paid leave during that period, if available.”
- Duration: 12 weeks
- Read more here
- Benefits will be available starting July 1st, 2020
- Provides partial wage replacement benefits to eligible employees who need to take leave for certain medical or family reasons
- Funded by employer payroll taxes
- Administered by the Department of Employment Services (DOES)
Disability Benefits/Paid Sick Leave
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
- OR at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual
NEW BENEFITS IN JANUARY 2021
A new federal COVID relief package was signed in on 12/27 that expands the unemployment benefits under the CARES Act. These benefits are targeted for those who are self-employed, ineligible for state benefits, contract workers, or have exhausted their current benefits. More information about filing for these benefits can be found here: https://does.dc.gov/release/district-columbia-expects-begin-distributing-additional-unemployment-benefits-january.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS
The DC Department of Employment Services reported on October 20th, 2020 the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate as 8.7 percent in September. To see the breakdown by major sector refer to the appropriate press release found here. The worst unemployment rate during the pandemic remains at 11.1 percent in April, an increase from March’s 5.1 percent.
As of December 26th, 2020, the number of initial weekly claims filed in D.C. is 1414, a decrease of 456 claims from the prior week (not seasonally adjusted). State-by-state breakdowns can be found at this link. The running total for unemployment compensation claims in D.C. is 165,059.
District residents can use dcnetworks.org to file for their unemployment compensation. A quick guide to accessing unemployment benefits can be found at this link.
Office of Workers Compensation and Office of Workers Compensation remains operational. General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program – you can file and unemployment insurance claim online, or by phone: 202-724-7000 (M-F 8:30AM-4:30PM)
- The online system is being updated to reflect recently passed DC legislation
- Work Search Requirement: Effective 03/15/20, the work search requirement has been temporarily suspended for all claimants. If you receive a message indicating that benefits will be delayed or denied for this reason, please disregard it.
- Waiting Period Week: Effective 03/15/20, the waiting period in the District of Columbia has been temporarily suspended. All claims filed after March 15, will no longer serve a waiting period week and benefits will be paid beginning of the first week of eligibility.
- American Job Centers and DC Infrastructure Academy will be closed.
- As of April 8th, 2020, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act had been updated, which includes an expansion of unemployment insurance benefits for DC workers. A summary of the expanded programs offered under the provisions of the CARES Act is provided on the UI service center online system. A brief listing of the unemployment insurance programs can be found below:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Source: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-individuals
- CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions can be found: here.
The “Act” expands unemployment insurance (“UI”) eligibility to employees affected by COVID-19 to include employees that become unemployed or partially unemployed due to circumstances that arise from this public health emergency. There is NO work-search requirement. These circumstances include:
- Being quarantined or isolated by the Department of Health or any other agency
- Deciding to self-quarantine under guidance by the Department of Health, other agency, or medical professional
- Employment by an employer who stopped or reduced operations due to guidance from the Mayor or Department of Health, or experienced reduced business revenue due to COVID-19
Additional benefits for District residents include eligibility for cash or food assistance, as well as medical coverage for the individual and their family. New applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Alliance, and other public benefits can be found at this link.
You ARE eligible for UI even if:
- Your employer has not provided a date for your return to work; or
- You do not have a reasonable expectation of continued employment with your current employer
The United States Department of Labor is awarding over $102 million in grants via the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. This is targeted for state distribution to trade-affected workers who experienced losses in their income. The TAA program is also used to provide training and income support to eligible workers over the age of 50. More information can be found in this link.
SCHOOL CLOSURES: If your child’s school is closed and you have to miss work to care for them, you do NOT qualify.
- Check your eligibility here
- Call 202-724-7000 for your questions about eligibility and visit does.dc.gov
- Learn more about how to start your UI claim here
- Submit your unemployment insurance claim HERE!
Worker’s compensation processes claims and monitors the payment of benefits to injured private-sector employees in the District of Columbia. Disputes between claimants and employers (or their insurance carriers) are mediated and employers are monitored to ensure compliance with insurance coverage requirements.
Worker’s compensation is available for those who are unable to do their usual job because they were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 while in the regular course of their job (i.e. healthcare workers).
- File your ONLINE claim of an accidental injury or occupational disease here
- Keep a copy of the completed form for your records, file a copy with your employer and send the original to the Office of Workers’ Compensation.
Small business grant programs have been created to assist nonprofit organizations and small contractors who do not qualify for unemployment. Specifically, the District’s Economic Recovery Team (DERT) helps to coordinate responses to restart business activity and support the workforce. The following programs and funds are available:
- DC East of the River Small Business Economic Relief Microgrant Program for Wards 7 and 8 (Closed 5/29/20)
- DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants– $25 million fund for businesses that meet criteria: 1)Located in Washington, DC. 2) Business license up to date 3)At least 25% revenue loss due to COVID-19
- Application available as of March 24, 2020: coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery
- Application period has closed as of 12PM on April 1st.
- US Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Business- targeted, low-interest loans to WDC small business that have been severely impacted by COVID-19, provides working capital loans up to $2 million.
- Grantwatch.com will continue to serve the nonprofit and small business community during the COVID-19 global crisis. New funding opportunities will be posted, active grants will be updated, and new grant deadlines will be extended.
- Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act
- Programs and initiatives passed by Congress that are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now including:
- Paycheck Protection Program
- Emergency Economic Injury Grant
- Small Business Debt Relief Program
- Free counseling to navigate this uncertain economic time
- Programs and initiatives passed by Congress that are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now including:
- For Artists or Art Organizations, see section from DC gov webpage: “Additional Resources for Artists and Organizations” for more information of help you can seek during this time.
- Benefits paid under the expansion of unemployment insurance for employees will not be charged to employers’ experience rating accounts.
- Respond to worker’s compensation claims here (OWC-7A form) within 14 days of receipt of
Private nonprofit organizations can apply for the FEMA Public Assistance grant to support recovery against major disasters. Local governments, states, tribes, territories, and certain private nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Unlike other grants, PA is a 75/25 cost share reimbursement program that is meant to recover lost revenue. The PA Program Manager for DC is Russel Gardner. (Source: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business)
Personal Finance Management
Learn more at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/
During COVID-19 Employment Opportunities
- The Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) runs every summer from late June to the end of July to provide District youth between the ages of 14 and 24 enriching summer work experiences in subsidized placements in the private as well as government sectors. Mayor Bowser is continuing this program this summer despite COVID-19 with the dates of June 22nd to July 31st. More information can be found at this link.
- Many local grocery stores are hiring additional employees immediately. See postings from Safeway, Giant, Walmart, 7-Eleven, and Whole Foods on their websites.
- Pharmacies (ie. CVS, Walgreens) are hiring additional employees to meet demand.
- D.C. Area Companies that are hiring amidst the pandemic:
- Amazon – hire 100,000 additional employees for distribution centers
- Dominos, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut – hire 60,000 additional employees total
- Lidl – hire an additional 1,000 workers
- (Source: https://wtop.com/business-finance/2020/03/whos-hiring-during-covid-19-crisis/)
Please remember to practice social distancing and proper hygiene in pursuing these opportunities!
Full text of Emergency COVID 19- Response Bill- March 17, 2020: https://www.dccouncil.us/council-unanimously-passes-emergency-covid-19-response-bill/ (will remain in effect for 90 days)
Modified DC Government Operations: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/release/during-modified-dc-government-operations-many-services-still-operating
Full text of news release for Virtual/Online Legislative meeting, to which council unanimously approves broad Second COVID emergency response bill on 04/07/2020
Contact the Department of Human Resources at askHRcovid19@dc.gov or (202) 442-9700 for information about COVID-19 as it relates to employment, leave, travel, healthcare, telework, and requirements for essential and emergency employees.
COVID-19 Scenarios and Benefits Chart: Paid Sick Leave, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation https://does.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/does/publication/attachments/COVID19_DOES_Scenarios.pdf
Resources about Unemployment Compensation and COVID-19: