Employment Security Dept. Shares Everything you Need to Know about Paid Family and Medical Leave

Employment Security Dept. Shares Everything you Need to Know about Paid Family and Medical Leave

From the Employment Security Department of Washington State newsletter:

April 2018

Dear Employer,

As you may know, in 2017 the Washington State Legislature passed bipartisan legislation to establish a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program. This program is administered through the Employment Security Department (ESD) and is separate from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the paid sick leave law that went into effect earlier this year.


What is Paid Family and Medical Leave?

Paid family and medical leave

The Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program will allow all eligible workers in Washington to take necessary time off 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. Premiums are paid both by employees and many employers. As directed by the Legislature, premium assessment begins on Jan. 1, 2019and benefits will be available to eligible employees on Jan. 1, 2020.  

For details on eligibility and employer premiums, please click here.

This tight timeline requires ESD to simultaneously develop rules, build the necessary line of business and engage in public outreach related to Paid Family and Medical Leave. It is important to us that you stay informed of how the program is coming along, and we encourage you to sign up for periodic program updates by clicking here.


What about small businesses?

Small business owner

If you have fewer than 50 employees*, you are exempt from the employer share of the premium. 

Your employees will pay their share of the premium however, and you are still responsible for collecting their premium and remitting that amount to the state. You are also required to report hours and wages. To sign up for periodic updates specific to businesses of 150 employees or fewer, please click here.

*Employer size is determined by averaging the number of employees over several reporting periods. Please sign up for updates using the link above for more detailed information.


Share your feedback

Public Comment Portal

Do you have a question or comment about Paid Family and Medical Leave, or a comment or question about the rulemaking process? Join the discussion on the public comment portal here.


Offering coverage outside the state plan

Voluntary plans

Employers may elect to implement a self-administered voluntary plan rather than using the state-run plan. Voluntary plans must offer at least the same benefits as the state plan, and withhold the same or less than the amount from an employee’s paycheck that the state plan would withhold. Voluntary plan applications are expected to be available in late summer of this year.

Do you believe your business may meet these criteria, or are you interested in voluntary plans? 

Then please click here to receive periodic updates specific to voluntary plans.


Be heard!

  Please take our 60 second survey


Quick links

Video introducing Paid Family and Medical Leave

Paid sick leave vs. Paid Family and Medical Leave

Employer FAQ

Employee FAQ

Voluntary plan info

Sign up for general updates

Sign up for voluntary plan updates

Sign up for updates related to business that employ 150 or fewer employees.

Paid Family and Medical Leave website

Paid Family and Medical Leave public comment portal

Public meetings related to Paid Family and Medical Leave


Key dates

Calendar reminder

May 23, 2018Public hearing on third and final draft of phase 1 rules (FINAL opportunity to provide comments on this set of rules) *

Late summer 2018: Voluntary plan applications available and begin to be accepted*

Jan. 1, 2019Premiums begin to be assessed, and employers must prepare to remit wage and hour reports to the state. +

May 26, 2019: Quarter 1 premiums are submitted

Jan. 1, 2020Benefits claims may begin to be filed +

*Deadlines might change as necessary. Check our website for deadlines.

+Deadlines in statute


Stay informed

Sign up for periodic updates.