Payroll deductions for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave program start Jan. 1, 2019

In 2017, the Washington state legislature passed a bill to create a mandatory statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) insurance program that will provide almost every Washington worker with partial wage replacement while on leave beginning January 1, 2020, to:

  • Recover from a serious illness or injury;
  • Bond with a new child (through birth, adoption, or foster placement);
  • Take care of a seriously ill or injured family member; or
  • Participate in certain military-connected events.

Under the state PFML, eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of family or medical leave, or a combination of the two up to 16 weeks annually. While on leave, you are entitled to partial wage replacement. This will be a percentage of your average weekly wage. It is up to 90% of your weekly wage, with a maximum benefit of $1,000/week. King County employees will also continue to have their existing benefits, which you may choose to utilize instead of PFML.

Starting January 1, 2020, eligible employees who have worked 820 hours for a Washington employer during the previous year will be able to apply for benefits (i.e., leave and partial wage replacement). The PFML program will be administered by the Employment Security Department, the same agency that manages unemployment benefits.

The program will be funded by premium payments beginning January 1, 2019. The premium is 0.4% of an employee’s wages. Under the PFML employees are responsible for 63% of the premium deduction, and the county is responsible for the remaining 37%. For example, if you make $50,000 annually, the total annual employee cost would be $200, of which $126 would be deducted from your paycheck per year, or about $2.42 per week.

Beginning January 1, 2019, the County is required to start making payroll deductions for non-represented employees and a majority of the bargaining units. This deduction will appear on your first paycheck of 2019. Click here for a listing of collective bargaining units that have completed bargaining on PFML.

For more information, please visit paidleave.wa.gov/workers or email paidleave@esd.wa.gov, and refer to this infographic. You can also contact your Human Resources Manager.