Seattle Paid Family Leave is Now a Statewide Issue
Washington State Leave Laws Are Causing Confusion for Businesses
There has been a lot of confusion recently regarding the employee leave laws in Washington State.
I recently sent out draft rules for the State Sick and Safe Leave that voters passed as an initiative last year. That policy takes effect 1/1/2018.
A separate leave, Paid Family Leave, was negotiated by the Legislature earlier this year. The purpose was to avoid a far more burdensome possibility that could have been proposed as another initiative. The state-adopted plan goes into effect on 1/1/2019 for payroll deductions and benefits will start 1/1/2020.
Sick and Safe leave can run concurrent with Paid Family Leave once implemented. Under Sick and Safe Leave, employers will be required to provide 1 hour of employer paid leave for every 40 hours worked.
Paid Family leave will be a state-funded leave program and employers with less than 50 employees will not be required to contribute to the fund unless they opt-in. Opting in for small business will provide financial incentives to help with replacing an employee who is off work for family or medical leave.
Under Paid Family Leave, employees can take up to 12 weeks of medical or family leave with a maximum of 16 weeks in one year or 18 for pregnancy complications. However, the employee must work 820 hours in four of the last five quarters to be eligible to receive benefits. Employers with 49 or less employees do not have to hold that employees position while they are on leave.
Employers who choose to provide a same or better Paid Family or Medical Leave benefit will have the option to waive out of either the family leave, medical Leave or both state-funded program. I have provided a webinar to members and will be speaking at various events to help employers prepare.
Link to Sick and Safe Leave can be found here.