As an employer, what are my responsibilities?

  • What are my responsibilities?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave is a statewide insurance program. 

    With very few exceptions, employers will have a responsibility to:

    1. Report employee wages, hours worked, and other information for all employees.
    2. Collect and remit premiums.
    3. A mandatory poster to notify employees of the program will be available before Jan. 1, 2020. If you would like something to share with your employees prior to that, download our optional paystub insert to distribute or post.

    Collective bargaining agreements

    Do you have employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement? 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 do not withhold premiums from these employees or pay the employer share of their premium until the CBA is reopened, renegotiated, or expires.

    What if only specific parts of a CBA have been renegotiated?

    For the purposes of Paid Family and Medical Leave, only collective bargaining agreements that have been renegotiated in their entirety meet the definition of reopened, renegotiated or expired. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering a narrow or specific section of a CBA does not constitute a reopening or renegotiation for the purposes of Paid Family and Medical Leave.

    For example, MOUs to accommodate the new paid sick leave law are not considered a reopening or renegotiation. This includes MOUs to expand the collectively bargained definition of family, accrual rates and reasons for usage under the new paid sick leave law. Negotiations of future contracts also do not constitute a reopening or renegotiation.

    The circumstances around specific agreements may require further determination. To ask specific questions about circumstances not relayed here, call our Customer Care Team at 833-717-2273.

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  • How do I pay premiums?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave is an insurance program funded through premiums paid by employers and workers. All employers may either withhold employees' premiums from their paychecks or pay some or all of the premium on their employees’ behalf. The premium for 2019 is 0.4% of an employee's gross wages.

    • Detailed information on calculating and remitting premiums, defining gross wages, and exemptions is posted on the premiums page
    • Estimate your premiums using our premium calculator.

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  • How do I report employee hours and wages?

    Starting in 2019, employers will be required to report employee information to ESD quarterly. Reporting periods follow calendar quarters and are aligned with reporting periods for Unemployment Insurance (UI). However, reporting for Paid Family and Medical Leave is separate from UI and will be completed through a different online tool starting in spring 2019.

    Find more information on our reporting page.

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  • Does this replace FMLA?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave is a statewide program. FMLA is a federal program. In short, this does not replace FMLA.

    Businesses with fewer than 50 employees do not have requirements under FMLA, but they must collect and remit employee premiums and complete required reporting for Paid Family and Medical Leave.

    When an employee experiences a qualifying event, and the event would qualify for both Paid Family and Medical Leave and FMLA, the available leave in both programs decreases together as an employee takes leave.

    Many questions about how Paid Family and Medical Leave will interact with FMLA will be answered in the third phase of Rulemaking. We encourage the public to participate in this process through our Rulemaking Page.

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  • What happens when my employee wants to take paid leave?

    Paid Family and Medical Leave is structured as an insurance program. Your employees pay into the program through payroll withholding, which is remitted by the employer. They qualify by working 820 hours in the qualifying period, verified by employer reporting.

    Once an employee has qualified by working 820 hours, they must then experience a qualifying event. This event could be related to either family or medical leave. For example, an employee who is caring for their newborn would use family leave. An employee caring for themselves after a car accident would use medical leave.

    After qualifying, the employee will file a claim with the Employment Security Department. This claim could be filed after the first missed day of work. In the car accident example, an employee could file their claim once they are physically able to. If the reason for leave is foreseeable, the employee must give their employer 30 days’ notice of their intention to take leave.

    The employer will be notified of the employee’s claim for leave. A process for the employer to dispute the employees claim will be developed in Phase 3 of Rulemaking. When the claim is approved, the employee receives their benefit payment within 14 days of the application. Payments are made biweekly after the first payment.

    If an employer has 50 or more employees, the employee is eligible for job protection if they have worked for that employer for 12 months or longer and have worked 1250 hours in the year to date before the first day of leave. 

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