Do You Know Everything You Should About the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act?
Here’s what you should know as an employer about Washington State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act
What is Paid Family and Medical Leave?
The Washington State mandated Paid Family and Medical Leave Act is being coined as a structured insurance program that is paid in as premiums by employees through a percentage of their paychecks. The initial premium is 0.4% of gross wages and can be adjusted annually after 2020.
The Act allows employees to take off work for up to 12 weeks for the qualifying reasons:
Bond with a newborn or recently placed child through adoption
Employee personal recovery from a serious health condition
Care for another immediate family member with a serious health condition; or
Care and handling for a family member in active duty suffering a serious injury or health condition
Employers have the responsibility to report and remit premiums to the state for 2019 Q1 and Q2 between July 31 and August 31. Premiums are remitted by the employer on the employee’s behalf. Employers will need to set up a Paid Leave account for reporting such information.
To see the reporting requirements and specific dates, click here to navigate the Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave website.
Who does the Act apply to?
All Washington employers must collect and remit premium and complete required reporting
Out of state employers with Washington employees are included.
Employees who have worked at least 820+ hours within the first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters, or last four completed quarters
When is it effective?
January 1, 2019 – employers collect premiums from paychecks
January 1, 2020 – benefits available for employees
Where is the money going?
Being a state funded program, the Act outlines that the first year be a “building year” across the state before the benefits can be handed out. The premiums paid into the state are held in a trust by the state treasury. The state will then distribute the money per week, dependent on the requesting employee’s work wages - ranging from $100 to $1,000 per week.
Why is the new state Act important?
This specified time off is a separate bucket from vacation and sick time off. Employees may no longer fret about choosing between work and care for themselves/family. The employee may now jet off to a vacation destination or stay home sick without having to save “in case of emergency” days.