Posted By PayNW November 19, 2018

Businesses in the state of Washington must manage compliance with the Washington Paid Family Medical Leave Act, which includes both contribution requirements, leave tracking and usage, and notice requirements. Here is what businesses need to know about Washington PFLMA. 

Washington State PFMLA Overview

Washington Paid Family Medical Leave (PFMLA) grants leave to employees up to (generally) 12 times the employee's typical workweek hours. Employees may take leave for a variety of family and medical-related reasons. 

Washington PFMLA is just one of many Washington Labor Laws that employers in the state need to comply with.

Washington PFMLA Compensation

Employees receive pay during leave at a rate of 90% of their average weekly wage if their weekly wage is 50% or less of the state average

Employees receive pay during leave at a rate of 45% of the state average weekly wage plus 50% of the difference between the employee's average weekly wage and half of the state average weekly wage if their average weekly wage is over 50% of the state average.

Note: Washington does cap PFMLA benefits at $1,427 per week for 2023.

Washington PFMLA Eligibility and Qualifying Life Events

In order to be eligible for Washington PFMLA benefits, employees must have worked at least 820 hours in the first four of the previous five calendar quarters.

There had been a temporary grant due to COVID to expand eligibility, however, this ended in March of 2022. 

PFMLA Qualifying Life Events

Washington Employees can take leave for both family and medical reasons. Employees can also combine the two benefits (family leave and medical leave) and take leave for 16 times the employee's typical workweek hours, rather than the standard 12.

Qualifying Life Events for Paid Family Leave in Washington include:

  • Providing care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • To bond with the employee’s child during the first 12 months after the birth (or the first 12 months after the placement of a child under the age of 18 with the employee)
  • During the seven calendar days following the death of a family member for whom the employee would have qualified for medical leave for the birth of their child, or would have qualified for family leave for child bonding (effective June 9, 2022)
  • Any qualifying exigency as permitted under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act for family members.

Qualifying Life Events for Paid Medical Leave in Washington include:

  • The employee's own serious health condition. Effective June 9, 2022, leave taken in the postnatal period (defined as six weeks after birth) for incapacity due to pregnancy is medical leave, unless the employee chooses to use family leave for this purpose. Additionally, certification of a serious health condition is not required for this leave.

Employee Notices

Employees must provide employers with notice before taking PFMLA Leave. 

If an employee takes leave for the birth or placement of a child, they must provide 30 days' notice if leave is foreseeable. Otherwise, notice must be provided as soon as practicable. 

For planned medical treatment for an employee's serious health condition, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer's operations (subject to healthcare provider approval). The employee must also provide 30 days' notice. If leave must begin in less than 30 days, notice must be provided as soon as practicable.

Washington PFMLA Employer Contributions 

The 2023 premium for Washington PFMLA is 0.8% of each employee's gross wages. 

However, the contribution is split between the employee and the employer. The employer covers 27.24% of this contribution, while employee withholding covers the rest.

Washington businesses that are having issues with employer contributions and employee withholding may want to consider a Washington Payroll Provider for help. 

Employer Contribution Exception 

Employers with less than 50 employees do not need to pay the employer portion of the premium. However, employers may choose to still do so as an employee benefit. 

Get Help With Washington PFMLA Compliance

As part of our software and service, PayNW tracks and reports relevant employees’ hours and wages to Washington State, and files and remits quarterly withholdings required under the new law on your behalf.

You’ll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your organization is in compliance with current regulations, and you’ll have clear visibility into the tax filings and withholdings throughout your organization.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how PayNW keeps companies with complex payrolls worry-free and tax-compliant.

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