The GSBA Blog


WA State Employers: the Paid Family & Medical Leave program impacts your business in 2019. Are you ready?

by Matt LaPalm | Paid Family and Medical Leave – Employment Security Department – State of Washington
| Aug 24, 2018

Washington is soon to be the fifth state to offer paid family and medical leave benefits.

Our workers will no longer have to choose between caring for their loved ones and making ends meet. They can dedicate their time away from work to be the best caretaker they can be. In return, employers have access to an inexpensive competitive benefit, save on payroll costs while the worker is on leave, and reduce employee turnover costs. Washington is a leader and our Paid Family and Medical Leave program is ready to prove it in 2019.

Workers can begin taking leave in 2020, but next year, employers will have some actions to take.


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First, employers need to withhold premiums from paychecks starting with the first check in 2019. These premiums are split between employers and workers. Workers foot most of the bill, but employers with 50 or more employees also have a portion to pay.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees don’t have to pay premiums but are still responsible for collecting and remitting the workers share. Premiums are paid to the Employment Security Department by employers quarterly, starting in 2019. Learn more about premiums on our Premiums page.

Second, all employers will report wages, hours worked, and more. This reporting will be done at the end of each calendar quarter. The first reports will be in April 2019. These reports will be done through a website that is under development. We will share more about what needs to be reported on our Reporting page when it is available.

Do you have a similar plan you already like? You can turn that plan into a Voluntary Plan. Applications for Voluntary Plans start in September of this year. You can learn more on our Voluntary Plan page.

Want to learn more? We would be happy to come to you. Our team is accepting presentation requests now, and we can provide these presentations free of charge. Please fill out our presentation request as soon as possible as our calendar is filling quickly.

Please feel free to email me (mlapalm@esd.wa.gov) directly. I am happy to answer your questions or find an answer if I don’t know it. We are excited to work with GSBA in preparing Washington’s businesses for this new program and I am thankful for this venue.