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  • Raemi L. Gilkerson

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Update

I received an update from the Washington State Employment Security Department regarding the Employer Impact of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act in the State of Washington. I wrote about this topic in one of our first blog posts here.

What is Paid Family and Medical Leave?

-The program was passed by the legislature in 2017. The program offers Washington workers the opportunity to receive partial wages while they are on leave from work to recover form an illness, to bond with a new child, for certain military events, or to take care of a sick or injured family member.

When does the Program go into effect?

-January 2019 is when premium collection will begin.

-January 2020 is when Eligible employees will be able to apply for benefits.

Employer Responsibilities does the Employer have?

-Total premium of .4 percent up to the social security cap is assessed for each employee. The employer is generally responsible for approximate 37% of the premium.

-The example provided is that if an employee makes $50,000 annually, the total assessment would be $200. Of the $200 assessment $126.67 would be paid by the employee and $73.33 would be by the employer.

-Employers will be responsible for remitting all of the premiums to the state and they are required to report the hours and wages.

How does an Employee become eligible for benefits under the program?

-An employee becomes eligible for Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits once they have completed 820 hours of work for an employer in Washington State during the qualifying period.

The qualifying period is the first four of the last four calendar quarters.

What benefits are employees entitled to?

-Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave or a combination of the two up to 16 weeks with partial wage replacement that the state will administer.

What is the difference between family leave and medical leave?

-Family leave covers bonding time for birth or placement of a child, time taken care of an ill family member. Medical leave covers time taken to care for the employee’s own injury or illness.

What is the responsibilities of small businesses?

-If employers have less than 50 employees they are no subject to job protection requirements pertaining to the Act.

-Small business employers are also exempt from the employer portion of the premium.

-Small businesses are still required to report hours and wages.

If you have questions regarding the program and how it might affect you as an employer, please feel free to contact us.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice from Leos & Gilkerson, PLLC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed lawyer.

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