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  • What are the benefits?

    Eligible Washington workers are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave starting Jan. 1, 2020. There are some limited circumstances where a worker may be eligible for up to 18 weeks of leave. The benefit is paid as partial wage replacement, so a worker could receive up to 90% of their average weekly wage while on leave.

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  • What do the benefits cover?

    When the benefits of Paid Family and Medical Leave become available in 2020, if you are eligible, you will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks (18 weeks in limited special circumstances) of paid leave. Washington's law includes partial wage replacement, and your benefits will depend on how much you earn in a typical week. 

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  • How much does it cost?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave is an insurance program funded through premiums paid by nearly everyone working in Washington and many of their employers. The rate for 2019 is 0.4 percent of a worker's wage, about 63 percent of which is paid by the worker and about 37 percent is paid by the employer. Employers can opt to cover some or all their employees' premiums. Premium collection began on Jan. 1, 2019. 

    Example: 

    • A worker makes $50,000 a year.
      • Worker pays about $2.44 a week.
      • Their employer pays about $1.41 a week.
      • Worker receives a benefit of about $778 per week when out on Paid Family and Medical Leave.

    Click here to estimate your premium

    Work at a small business? You're covered! Workers in businesses of all sizes are part of Paid Family and Medical Leave. 

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  • How do I manage my Paid Family & Medical Leave account?

    When you apply for benefits (starting in 2020), you will be able to set up a customer account with Employment Security Department to apply for and manage your claim. The application and benefit payment processes will be customer-focused, and we anticipate designing a simple, fast and friendly experience. This page will be updated with more information when it is available.

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  • Is there assistance for small business?

    Grants are available for small businesses to help cover the costs of hiring temporary employees when a member of your team uses Paid Family and Medical Leave. To be eligible for these grants, your business must average 150 or fewer employees. Businesses that average fewer than 50 employees must pay the employer portion of premiums to be eligible.

    Grants of up to $3,000 are available and can be issued 10 times per year to a single employer. A business must apply for these grants. More information about the application process will be available in the future.

    A grant of $1,000 is available to businesses who experience significant wage-related costs due to an employee’s leave when using Paid Family and Medical Leave.

    You can learn more about Small Business Assistance in the RCW here.

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  • What are the eligibility requirements?

    To qualify for Paid Family and Medical Leave, you must work 820 hours or more in the qualifying period. The qualifying period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters starting from the day you intend to take leave.

    This benefit cannot be taken without a qualifying event. Leave events can be either Family or Medical.

    Family Leave

    • Care and bond after a baby’s birth or the placement of a child younger than 18
    • Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
    • Certain military-connected events

    Medical Leave

    • Care for yourself in relation to an illness or medical event
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  • Who can opt in?

    Federally recognized tribes and self-employed individuals, including independent contractors, sole proprietors, partners and joint ventures are not required to participate in Paid Family and Medical Leave but may opt in to the program to receive access to benefits. 

    I own an S-Corp. Am I required to participate in Paid Family and Medical Leave?

    Maybe! An S-Corp is a federal tax designation and isn’t enough information for us to know if you’re required to participate. In Washington, S-Corps are either a corporation or an LLC.

    Corporations

    If you receive compensation from your corporation in exchange for service provided to it, you are required to participate as an employee of that organization. Corporate officers are required to participate.

    Limited Liability Companies (LLC's)

    Members of an LLC are exempt from the program even if they are taking a wage from their LLC. Owners of a sole-proprietorship or partnership and LLC members are not required to participate but can elect coverage.

    If any of these organizations have employees, they have employer responsibilities. See our employer page for more details about these responsibilities.

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  • Am I eligible for benefits?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits will be available starting Jan. 1, 2020.

    To qualify for Paid Family and Medical Leave, you must work 820 hours or more in the qualifying period. The qualifying period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters starting from when you make your claim for benefits.

    This benefit cannot be taken without a qualifying event. Leave events can be either Family or Medical.

    Family Leave

    • Care and bond after a baby’s birth or the placement of a child younger than 18
    • Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
    • Certain military-connected events

    Medical Leave

    • Care for yourself in relation to an illness or medical event
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  • Is participation in the program mandatory?

    Generally, yes: Nearly everyone who works in Washington will participate in the program.

    Exceptions include workers who are:

    • Federal employees.
    • Employed by a federally recognized tribe.
    • Subject to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was in existence on or before Oct. 19, 2017.
    • Self-employed.

    Important details:

    • Self-employed people may opt in to gain access to the benefit.
    • Employees covered under a CBA that was in existence on or before Oct. 19, 2017 are not subject to the rights or responsibilities of paid family and medical leave until the agreement is reopened, renegotiated, or expires. You will not pay premiums or be eligible for leave until the CBA is reopened, renegotiated, or expires.
    • Some employers may choose to offer benefits through a private plan called a voluntary plan. If your employer has an approved voluntary plan, they are required to offer benefits that are equal to or greater than the state plan.

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  • What do the benefits cover?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave cannot be taken without a qualifying event. Leave events can be either Family or Medical.

    Family Leave

    • Care and bond after a baby’s birth or the placement of a child younger than 18
    • Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
    • Certain military-connected events

    Medical Leave

    • Care for yourself in relation to an illness or medical event

    When qualified, Washington workers will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave. An additional 2 weeks of leave is available when the leave is a result of pregnancy complications. Workers are eligible for up to 16 weeks of leave when family and medical leave are used in combination. For example, an expecting mother could use 8 weeks of medical leave for bed rest. The mother could then use an additional 8 weeks of family leave after giving birth to care and bond with the new child.

    Benefits

    The weekly benefit for Paid Family and Medical Leave is the dollar amount a covered employee will receive from ESD while claiming these benefits. The dollar amount is capped at $1,000 with a minimum of $100 and is a calculated percentage of the employee's gross wages.

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