Starting in 2020, the state of Washington will offer Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits to eligible workers. The statewide program will be administered by the Employment Security Department (ESD). At Washington State University, the program will be funded by premiums paid by both employees and WSU, with premium assessment beginning on January 1, 2019. Employees will be able to use PFML benefits starting January 1, 2020. PFML is a mandatory statewide insurance program. Washington workers will have access to this leave when they have worked 820 hours in the qualifying period. When leave is taken, the benefit is paid by the State of Washington rather than the employer.
Rulemaking is ongoing at the state level. Human Resource Services is following the process as the state develops rules and regulations for implementing the leave benefits in 2020 and beyond.
The below information on the program will continue to be updated and is subject to change as the rulemaking and state decisions are made.
To qualify for PFML, employees must work 820 hours or more in the qualifying period. The qualifying period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters starting from the day the employee intends to take leave. This benefit cannot be taken without a qualifying event. Leave events can be either Family or Medical.
- Care and bond after a baby’s birth or the placement of a child younger than 18
- Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
- Certain military-connected events
- Care for self in relation to an illness or medical event
Family members include: Spouse (including registered domestic partner), children (including step and foster), parents (including in-law and loco parentis), siblings, grandchildren and grandparents.
Typically, up to 12 weeks of paid leave. If workers experience multiple events in a given year, they may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, or up to 18 weeks if the employee experiences a serious health condition with a pregnancy that results in incapacity.
Benefits are noted to be a percentage of the employee’s average weekly pay. The benefit wage replacement is up to 90% of weekly wage with a minimum of $100 per week and a maximum of $1,000 per week. Calculate your benefits with ESD HERE
Employees will have the option of receiving their benefits in the form of direct deposit or a prepaid debit card.
PFML is a statewide program and does not replace Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Employee Notice and Requesting Leave through the University
If employees know about the leave before it happens, the employee will need to give the University written notice at least thirty (30) days in advance. Examples include: expected birth, placement of a child, or planned medical treatment or surgery. If need for leave is unforeseeable and when thirty (30) days notice is not possible, employees are to provide the University written notice as soon as is practicable. Examples include: a medical emergency, sudden illness or injury. Additionally, the employee must inform the University as soon as is practicable if dates of the scheduled leave change, are extended, or were initially unknown. WAC 192-600-005
Notifications and employee application for University medical leaves of absence from their appointment with WSU continue to follow the processes outlined on the Medical Leave website. An employee may submit the medical documentation supplied to the ESD for PFML benefits to WSU in the application for medical leave from WSU.
Effective August 1, 2020, employees may use annual leave, sick leave, personal holiday, or compensatory time, during a period when the employee is receiving partial wage replacement under Title 50A RCW as a supplemental benefit. Employees are responsible for identifying the dates they are approved for PFML and those dates and times in which they choose to supplement their PFML benefits with leave on their Time or Leave Reports and submitting timely. For additional information see Supplemental Benefits questions on the state of Washington Office of Financial Management Paid Family and Medical Leave and supplemental benefits webpage.
Starting in January 2020, employees can apply for benefits through the ESD online Worker login or on paper. Filing a claim for PFML benefits with the ESD is a separate process from filing for a medical leave of absence from WSU. Employees applying for a leave of absence from their appointment with WSU continue to follow the processes outlined in BPPM 60.56 or BPPM 60.57 and on the Medical Leave website.
After applying for PFML benefits, the ESD will review hours worked in the state of Washington to confirm eligibility. There is a seven (7) day waiting period before an employee may be eligible for PFML benefits, for all leaves except birth or placement of a child. Once the ESD approves the claim, individuals will submit weekly claims to the ESD for the paid benefit.
- Paid Family and Medical Leave and supplemental benefits
- Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave
- Get Ready to Apply
- After You Apply
- Q&A State Office of Financial Management – updated February 2020
- Technical Assistance: Creating account, applying, filing claims and more
- Substitute Senate Bill 5975 Paid Family and Medical Leave
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @PaidLeaveWA
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
High-Risk Employee – Workers’ Rights – Accommodations
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @PaidLeaveWA