Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program now providing benefits
On Jan. 1, 2020, Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program began providing workers with paid time off to welcome a new child to their family, care for a sick loved one, or recover from their own serious medical condition.
To be eligible, you must have worked at least 820 hours for a Washington employer during the qualifying period, which generally speaking is the last year. Most King County bargaining units and all non-represented employees are eligible (list of participating unions) if they meet the qualifying conditions.
What can PFML be used for and how long does it last?
This program allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave to:
- Welcome a child into your family (through birth, adoption, or foster placement)
- Recover from a serious illness or injury
- Care for a seriously ill or injured family member
- Prepare for a family member’s pre- and post- military deployment, or time for childcare issues related to a family member’s military deployment
If you face multiple events in a year, you may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, and up to 18 weeks if you experience a serious health condition during pregnancy that results in incapacity.
How much is the benefit?
While on leave, eligible employees are entitled to partial wage replacement. The weekly PFML amount is calculated and paid by the Employment Security Department. The weekly amount is a percentage of your average weekly wage with a minimum benefit of $100 and a maximum of $1,000 per week.
How does the program work?
This new PFML benefit is administered and paid by the Employment Security Department (State of Washington). PFML is paid for by a statewide insurance pool that is funded by mandatory employer contributions and employee payroll deductions that began Jan. 1, 2019, for most employees.
Where can I get more information or apply?
For more information about PFML and to apply, go to the Employment Security Department’s Paid Family and Medical Leave website or contact them by email or by phone at 833-717-2273. Questions about how PFML interacts with other protected leave can be directed to your agency Human Resources leave administrator.