Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave

What is it?

Paid Family and Medical Leave is a statewide insurance program that will be funded by premiums paid by both employees and their employer. This program allows eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks, as needed, when they welcome a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative, and for certain military connected events. If workers experience multiple events in a given year, they may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, or up to 18 weeks if the employee experiences a serious health condition with a pregnancy.

When does it start?

Beginning January 1, 2019, PEA employees and the District will begin paying a payroll tax “premium” to the WA State Employment Security Department. One year later, starting January 1, 2020, employees who qualify will be able to draw upon a paid leave benefit for certain qualifying events.

Who pays for it and how much will it cost?

The initial premiums will be 0.4% of an employee’s paycheck and is shared by the employee and the District. The employee will be responsible for 63% of the payroll tax, and the District will be responsible for 37%. Example: If an employee’s annual salary is $54,000, the employee will contribute about $2.62 per week and the District will contribute about $1.54 per week. For more information on premiums please visit the PFML premium page.   

How do I become eligible?

An employee becomes eligible once they have worked 820 hours for a Washington-based employer during the previous year. The benefit cannot be taken without a qualifying event. Leave events can be either Family or Medical as stated below.

  1. Family Leave
  1. *  Care and bond after baby’s birth or placement of a child younger than 18
  2. *  Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
  3. *  Certain military-connected events
  1. Medical Leave
  1. *  Care for yourself in relation to an illness or medical event

What is my weekly benefit?

Qualifying employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of wage replacement with a weekly minimum of $100 and a weekly maximum of $1000, adjusted annually. The exact benefit will be determined by the employee’s earned wages, the state median income, and other factors. Employees must apply for this benefit through the Employment Security Department.

For more information visit: www.esd.wa.gov/paid-family-medical-leave
Washington is one of 5 states in the nation to offer Paid Family and Medical Leave.  The Washington State Legislature approved Senate Bill 5975 during the 2017 legislative session and the new law went into effect on October 19, 2017.