DMV Restaurant Worker Resource Guide!

Created by the Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC (ROC-DC)

Please note: this is a live and active document. For edits and additions please email: Thank you! Love & Solidarity to All!!


Check for active updates:


For those already enrolled in TANF, SNAP (Food Stamps), DC Alliance Healthcare, DC or childcare vouchers and your benefits were set to expire in March or April, your benefits will be automatically renewed. You do NOT have to renew until 60 after the end of the DC State of Emergency.

  • If you need to apply for TANF, SNAP(Food Stamps), DC Alliance, or childcare vouchers, you can print and drop off an application at your local DHS Service Center. Make a copy of any papers you drop off and write yourself a detailed note stating how and when you turned the papers in.


Legal Support:

The Washington Lawyers Committee will continue hosting their Free Legal Clinic via telephone for legal advice about any employmentrelated matter including wage theft, FMLA violations, unemployment compensation, discrimination and sick leave violations. To Schedule an appointment contact them at: 

  • Phone: 202-319-1000 extension: 118

  • E-mail:

Family Medical Leave Act (Job Protection)

DC Family Medical Leave Act (DC FMLA)

DC Family Medical Leave Act protects your job while you take paid or unpaid leave. Your boss is obligated to protect your job while taking DCFMLA – your job must be there for you once you return from DCFMLA. Special changes have been made during the COVID-19 emergency. 


  • DCFMLA requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees with 16 weeks of unpaid family leave and 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave during a 24 month period.

  • You can access DC FMLA due to your own serious illness or due to family circumstances (e.g. caring for sick family or giving birth)


  • Workers are now allowed to use DC FMLA leave for any reason related to COVID-19, including self-quarantining:

  • DC FMLA now covers all small businesses regardless of size

  • DC FMLA now waives amount and time you needed to work before you are allowed to apply


Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 


  • Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion:

    • Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers are required to provide up to 12 weeks of protected leave to employees that have been employed for at least 30 days if they need to care for a child whose school or childcare provider closed due to COVID-19.

    • The first 10 days of leave are unpaid, and then subsequent leave is paid at 2/3 of the employee’s regular wages, capped at $200 per day.

  • The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;

    • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;

    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;

    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;

    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or

  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

Federal FMLA Fact Sheets

How to Apply for Federal FMLA

  • To apply for FMLA, the employee must take an FMLA Medical Certification Form to their health care provider. This form ensures that the employee’s or family member’s applicable health condition is valid. After receiving the form, the employee must return it within 15 calendar days.

  • After employees are approved, they must submit the FMLA Notification Form within two days of requesting leave.

  • After the leave is approved, employees should give advance notice and may be denied if they don’t meet that requirement. The employee typically should offer 30 days advance notice when the leave is foreseeable.

DC Paid Sick Leave

The District of Columbia requires employers of all sizes to provide employees with paid sick leave. 

How many Paid Sick Days am I entitled to?

3 Days for businesses with 1-24 employees

5 Days for businesses with 25-99 employees

7 Days for businesses with 100+ employees


What can I use Paid Sick Days for?

  • Taking care of yourself because you are sick

  • Taking care of a sick loved one

  • Medical Appointments & Doctor or Hospital Visits

  • Instances or appointments related to domestic violence

What if my employer doesn’t allow me to take the day off, punishes me or doesn’t pay me for taking a sick day?

  • Paid Sick Days are your right! You do not need to show your employer a hospital or doctors note until the 3rd consecutive day of being out sick.

  • You have the right to not face retaliation or discipline if you request a paid sick day.

Can I use paid sick leave if my restaurant is currently closed due to COVID-19?

Paid sick days can only be used to request off a day in which you have been scheduled. Unfortunately if your employer has already closed, it is most likely that everyone has been removed from the schedule. If this is the case, you are not able to request a sick day, although we encourage everyone to ask your employer about this policy to confirm individual business policies.

Maryland Paid Sick Leave


How to File for Unemployment!

Have you been laid off by your employer due to COVID-19? You may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Please read below for more information on eligibility and how to file. Remember that you must file with the state you were employed in, even if you live elsewhere.

TIPPED WORKERS: The wages that are used to calculate your benefits come from your employers. Your benefits should be calculated based on your combined earnings of your base wage + tips. If you suspect that your employer has been mis-reporting your tips, this may affect your benefits. If this happens, please find some proof of your actual income (paystubs, bank statements, etc) and contact us! You may be facing issues of wage theft.  



Online: | By phone: 202-724-7000

When can you apply for DC Unemployment?

  • If you were working in DC in the past 30 days

    • The requirements for how long you needed to be employed that this last job has been temporarily waived!

  • If you got laid off from your job or temporarily unemployed due to your job temporarily closing

  • If your income has been cut (by more than 50%) during this crisis (e.g. due to cut shifts or hours)

  • If you are out of work due to being quarantined or self-quarantined

  • If you have a social security number or Employment Authorization Documents

  • If you voluntarily leave your job because your employer is not following the health and safety rules for COVID-19 as required by your doctor of a public health agency – you will need documentation, preferably from your doctor.

Who cannot apply for DC Unemployment?

  • Independent contractors or self-employed 1099 employees

    • If you think you have been misclassified and should be considered an hourly worker instead of an independent contractor, please contact us immediately!

  • Anyone without a Social Security Number or Employment Authorization Documents

Necessary documents to have ready:

  • Your social security number

  • Your most recent 30-day employer’s name(s), address(es), phone number(s) and dates of employment

  • Your DD214, if you are ex-military

  • Your Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50, if you are a former federal employee

  • Severance pay information (only applicable if you did or will receive severance pay)

  • Your Alien Registration Number, if you are not a US Citizen

How are Benefits calculated?

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by taking the highest quarter of wages in your base period and dividing it by 26. Maximum benefits are capped at $444/week. 

Do I have to actively be seeking work to qualify for Unemployment?

No, due to the Emergency Legislation passed in DC on March 17th, the requirement to show you are actively searching for another job has been waived. You must still complete the weekly report that is given, but you just do not have to prove you have been searching for a job due to COVID-19.

One Week Waiting Period

The one week waiting period for when you can start receiving benefits has also been waived, so you may be able to access benefits more quickly.

More Resources:



FILE A CLAIM: Online | By phone: Find your local office

    • Note on filing via phone: All Claim Centers take claims by telephone only, every Monday through Friday, excluding State holidays. Normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET. NEW HOURS: 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    • Please file your claim in the claim center located closest to your home.

  • Inquiries and questions can also be asked via email:

Necessary Documents:

  • Your Social Security Number and mailing address.

  • A telephone number where you can be reached.

  • The name, birth date and Social Security Number of all dependents under age 16.

  • If you are not a citizen, proof of your alien status.

  • The business name, address, and dates of employment for all employers within the last 18 months. A copy of your W-2 form may be helpful.

  • If you seek work through a union, the hiring hall number is required.

  • If you were in the military within the last 18 months, your DD214, Member 4.

What is the Minimum / Maximum Weekly Benefit?

The current weekly benefit amount provided by the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law ranges from a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $430.00.

More MD Resources:



FILE A CLAIM: Online | By phone: 1-866-832-2363

  • Phone Hours: 8:15am to 4:30pm, Monday – Friday. Closed weekends and state holidays.

Necessary Documents:

  • Your Social Security Number

  • The accurate employer names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of employment within the last 18 months.

  • The name and local number of your local union hall, if you obtain work through a union.

  • Your Alien Registration number if you are not a US citizen.

  • If you have any Non-Virginia employers you must have an accurate mailing address, phone number, and dates of employment for them.

  • You will be asked to select a method of payment: VA Debit Card or Direct Deposit. If you select Direct Deposit, you will need to have your Routing Number (First 9 digits located at the bottom of your checks) and your Account Number (5-17 digits, its exact location varies from bank to bank).

If you do not have this information available, please gather it before you begin to file your claim. This site is available seven days a week. The filing process takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. Please allow enough time to complete this process.

What is the Minimum / Maximum Weekly Benefit?

Weekly unemployment benefits in Virginia range from $54 to $378 per week and are based on your wages. The more you made, the higher the payout. To get the maximum, a person must have earned, during two quarters of their base period, at least $18,900.01, which means an annual salary of $37,800

  • Based on the wages earned during the regular base period, this determination will indicate the benefit amount you qualify for each week and the number of weeks you may receive benefits. The regular base period  consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the effective date of your claim.

  • If you feel the wages shown on the determination are incorrect, call 1-866-832-2363

  • *** Beginning with claims effective March 15, 2020, Governor Northam has directed that the one week waiting period and the requirement to conduct a weekly job search both be suspended for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits. **

More VA Resources:


Places that are giving out food and groceries!

DC Food Project’s Full List with Links to Emergency Food Access!

Guide to free food & Groceries in Park View Area!

  • Available in Spanish, English and Amharic

Food Bank Resources! 

DC Central Kitchen (DC)

  • Mon-Fri 10am-2pm

  • Serving takeaway food at Walker-Jones Education Campus (Ward 6) and Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7)

Martha’s Table (DC)

  • Pre-bagged groceries for neighbors at their SE and NW DC locations: The Commons (2375 Elvans Rd. SE) and The Maycroft (1401 Columbia Rd. NW)

  • Grab & Go Groceries:

    • Wednesday, March 18th 12:30-2pm (grab and go groceries) THEARC West Campus (Ward 8) and HD Woodson HS (Ward 7)

    • Thursday, March 19th 12:30-2pm (grab and go groceries) Kimball Elementary (Ward 7) and Anacostia High School (Ward 8)

    • Friday, March 20th 12:30-2pm (grab and go groceries) Ballou High School (Ward 8) and EW Stokes Community Freedom PCS- East End Campus (Ward 7)

ICNA Relief Meal Distribution (VA)

  • Daily hot meal from 6pm-8pm

  • 6763 Wilson Blvd. Falls Church, VA 22044

  • Contact info: 571-234-2045

ICNA Food Pantry (VA)

  • Every Saturday 11 AM – 1 PM

  • 2912 Woodlawn Trail Alexandria, VA 22306.

  • Contact info: (703) 400-0512 |


Housing resources & KYRS info!

Know Your Rights! – DC

New Changes made in DC Council Emergency Legislation on 3/16/20

Eviction ban

  • Under the DC emergency legislation, evictions are currently banned in DC

  • Even though evictions are illegal, that doesn’t mean that individual landlords won’t try to evict or threaten to evict. 

  • Call Office of the Tenant Advocate for help:  (202) 719-6560


  • During the state of emergency, utilities services cannot be shut off due to lack of payment. This should be kept in mind when planning and prioritizing your expenses!

Know Your Rights! – MD


  • No utility companies will be allowed to shut off service or charge late fees during this emergency crisis

  • This includes prohibiting any electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer late fees during the state of emergency.


Know Your Rights! – VA

Emergency Housing Resources

Student Emergency Housing Support

DC Student Emergency Housing Form

  • Specifically for low-ncome, first generation, queer or other marginalized groups

Facing eviction in DC? Call the Office of the Tenant Advocate for help:  (202) 719-6560Housing Advocacy

More Resources


Places that are giving out free home essentials

Food & Toiletry Stations in Ward 7&8:

  • Supplies for Pick up for weeks of March 16th and 27th
  • For requests contact Samantha Davis:
  • Or for delivery call: 202-630-0336

Hook Hall

  • Distributing care kits and family meals daily from 6-8pm for DC industry workers. 
  • You must bring a paystub to prove you are in the industry to receive supplies


Clinics, Health Insurance Resources, Etc

Health Insurance

DC Healthcare Alliance & DC Medicaid For those already enrolled in DC Alliance Healthcare and your benefits were set to expire in March or April, your benefits will be automatically renewed. You do NOT have to renew until 60 after the end of the DC State of Emergency.**This also applies for other public benefits such as TANF, SNAP a/k/a Food Stamps DC Health Link DC Health Link has opened their enrollment for the community because of COVID-19. Enroll online or call them for assistance.

Maryland Health ConnectionThe Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is establishing a special enrollment period through Maryland Health Connection specifically for the coronavirus.

  • To ensure residents of the state receive access to affordable ACA-compliant insurance coverage during this emergency, individuals can visit or download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.” 
  • Free consumer assistance is available by calling 1-855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Free or Reduced Cost Clinics

Healthcare access for Undocumented folks – Unity Health Care

  • Deeply rooted in the District’s neighborhoods for over 30 years, Unity strives to promote healthier communities through compassion and comprehensive primary and specialty health care and wrap-around services, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Details on Sliding Scale – Income-based Fees

Catholic Charities: Medical Clinic

  • Clinics are located in DC and MD
  • Catholic Charities operates two medical clinics that provide primary care to adults and children. If you have been putting off visiting the doctor because you are uninsured or under-insured, make an appointment today. We offer very affordable care. We serve people of all ages and work primarily with low-income families who do not have health insurance or are covered with DC Alliance, Medstar and Amerihealth, in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

La Clínica del Pueblo

    • Clinics are located in DC and MD
  • La Clinica accepts most insurances, and will help you determine if you are eligible for insurance coverage. Requirements: If you are not eligible for coverage on other programs, we offer affordable health care to uninsured patients on a sliding fee scale based on a patient’s income and family size. Co-pays and sliding fee charges are due at the time of service. At La Clinica, no one is denied care due to inability to pay

Friendship Place – Free Clinic

    • Clinic is located in DC
    • Medical Clinic: Mondays 1-4pm (on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Primarily for folks who are experiencing homelessness. This clinic operates under a SLIDING SCALE model. This means that it MAY NOT be free depending on your income. You will be required to prove financial need in order to receive free services or services at a reduced cost.

Bread for the City Health Clinic: 202.386.7020.

    • Located in DC at 1525 7th Street NW
  • Bread for the City has provided primary medical care to uninsured and low-income children and adults since 1974. Our medical staff includes two full time physicians, a physician assistant, a family nurse practitioner, and more than 40 volunteer physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, residents, students and others. The clinic also provides examinations, medications, lab tests, and referrals to patients, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Whitman Walker Health Clinic: 202.745.7000

  • Effective Monday, March 23rd through Friday, May 29th: Whitman-Walker will operate in-person respiratory clinics to treat our patients who are affected by COVID-19 at Whitman-Walker at 1525 at 1525 14th Street, NW and at Max Robinson Center at 2301 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.
  • Updated Health Center Respiratory Clinic Hours – By Appointment ONLY:
    • 1525 14th Street, NW Health Center: Monday-Wednesday & Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Thursday: 9:00 – 12:30 pm
    • Max Robinson Center at 2301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE: Monday-Wednesday & Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Thursday: 9:00 – 12:30 pm

Community of Hope DC: 202.540.9857 

  • We are asking all patients to call before coming to COH!  We are cancelling normal well exams and non-urgent visits to stop the spread of germs. Our medical staff will focus on telephone triage and handling sick visitsWe are accepting new patients if they are currently sick to ensure that everyone has a primary care provider.
  • Insurance and Sliding Scale Details


These are groups that you can join to request or provide support

DC Area Disability Mutual Aid Needs Assessment Form (in spanish & english)DC Mutual Aid Network

  • HOTLINES for needs requests:
    • Ward 1: (202) 681-9183
    • Ward 2: (202) 688-5812
    • Ward 4: (202) 681-3098
    • Ward 5: (202) 643-7030
    • Ward 6: (202) 683-9962
    • Wards 7 & 8: (202) 630-0336

Unofficial Guide to Mutual Aid and Community Organizing during COVID-19DMV Service Industry Support Group

  • Support group for restaurant workers! (Facebook Group)

DC Neighborhood Pods

  • A guide on how to create a network of support in your own neighborhood! Can also be used for workplaces or other networks in which you want to develop a mutual aid community.

Mutual Aid – Volunteer & Support Networks by Ward From: Full DMV Mutual Aid Spreadsheet!


Resources for at home self care & other mental health support

Free Individual Mental Health Services by Healers for Liberation Network DCDaily Mindfulness Meditation (except Sundays)Get Radical, Boil Roots: A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Wellness in the Time of COVID-19


How can we push for more comprehensive and inclusive policies!!