New Payroll Requirements

New WA Paid Family & Medical Leave
Program starts Jan. 1
Starting Jan. 1, 2019, employers of all sizes must either start withholding premiums from employee paychecks or opt to cover their employees’ premiums themselves.
Starting in 2020, Washington will offer paid family and medical leave benefits to workers. A premium of employee gross wages will fund the program, with the cost shared by both employees and many employers. The Employment Security Department (ESD) administers the program.
Starting in 2020, eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks:
•    To care for themselves through serious illness or injury
•    To care for a loved one who is seriously ill or injured
•    To bond with a child coming into the family through birth, adoption or foster placement 
•    For certain military-connected events 
For more information now, visit
Employers that average fewer than 50 employees do not have to pay the employer portion of the premium but must still withhold the employee portion or cover it themselves and meet all reporting requirements.
Employers who choose to withhold premiums from their employees may withhold up to about 63.333% of the total premium. The employer is responsible for paying the other 36.667%.
For more information on calculating premiums, download our Employer Toolkit and visit the link:
Jan. 1, 2020, all eligible employees in Washington must have access to paid family and medical leave benefits either through the state program or an employer-funded program, called a voluntary plan.
Unlike the federal unpaid Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), businesses of all sizes must participate in the Paid Family and Medical Leave program. 
Employers that average fewer than 50 employees and choose to pay the employer share of the premium may be eligible for cash assistance grants when an employee goes on Paid Family and Medical Leave starting in 2020.
The benefits offered to employees under a voluntary plan must meet or exceed the benefits of the state plan. Voluntary plans must be approved by ESD and employers still need to meet the program’s reporting requirements. Download our Voluntary Plan Guide for more information. 
Your voluntary plan must be approved by ESD to avoid withholding requirements starting Jan. 1, 2019.
This isn't paid sick leave: Paid Family and Medical Leave is not the same as paid sick leave. In 2020, employees will be able to apply for leave when experiencing a qualifying event and have worked 820 hours (about 16 hours a week, on average) in the year leading up to the date of leave. This isn’t like paid sick leave; employees will file their claim with the Employment Security Department (ESD), and the employee payment will come from ESD. Typically, employees will have access to up to 12 weeks of paid leave. If employees face multiple events in a year, they may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks and up to 18 weeks if they experience a serious health condition during pregnancy that results in incapacity.
For more information about paid sick leave, head over to L&I’s website.


Sample employee Handbook materials

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WA FMLA-Sample Handout

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