NEW LAW: Washington Employers, Are You Ready for Washington Paid Family Medical Leave?

In a 2017 article (NEW LAW: Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave) we advised Washington employers that a new paid family and medical leave program would be going to effect in Washington starting in January 2020.

While the Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits will not become available to employees until January 1, 2020, the payroll deductions (and the employer’s share of payments) to fund the program begins on January 1, 2019.

This means that starting on January 1st, Washington employers will be required to start doing the following:

  • Collect the employee’s share of the premiums: Under the law, both the employer and the employees fund the Washington paid family and medical leave program.  The total premium on an employee’s wages to be collected by the employer is 0.4% of the employee’s gross wages – split between the employer (63%) and the employee (37%).  These premiums must be collected with every paycheck.
  • Provide employees with notice of the deduction: Prior to the first deduction, Washington employers must advise their employees that this deduction will be taking place.  This notice must be given to the employees at least one pay period before the initial deduction is made.  A sample notice is available here.
  • Pay the employer’s share of the premium: Employers with 50 or more Washington employees must pay the employer’s portion of the premium.  This payment must be made every calendar quarter, so it is recommended that employers calendar the payment deadlines (the first one is April 30, 2019).
  • Provide quarterly reports to the Employment Security Department: Employers have quarterly reporting requirements, which include information like hours worked and total employee pay broken down by employee SSN.  The first report must be submitted by April 30, 2019.  It is recommended that employers familiarize themselves with the reporting requirements and calendar the reporting deadlines (the first one is April 30, 2019).