Effective January 1, 2019, employers are responsible for collecting and remitting premiums for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFL) to the Employment Security Division. Unlike many other states' Paid Family Leave, Washington PFL does not pass through a private insurer but through the state. As your payroll provider, CertiPay Online will calculate, collect, and deposit the new premium on your company's behalf.
So what is Paid Family and Medical Leave? PFL is a state wide insurance program that allows eligible workers to receive paid family and medical leave during a qualified event. The ESD answers additional questions about who is eligible to receive benefits, what the benefits cover, program funding, and participation requirements here.
An employee is included in Paid Family and Medical Leave when most most or all of the work performed is in Washington. Additionally, an employee should be included if their work is not located in any state but the basis of operations is in WA, the place where services are directed is in WA, or there is not a location but the worker lives in WA. All Washington employers, including out-of-state employers with WA employees, are required to participate; however, there are a few exceptions:
- Self Employed individuals (may opt-in)
- Federal Employees
- Federally Recognized Tribes (may opt-in)
- People who work temporarily in Washington (Example: Utility worker helping after a storm)
Employers may apply for a conditional waiver for their workers when they meet these three conditions:
- Physically based outside of the state;
- Employed in the state on a limited or temporary work schedule; and
- Not expected to be employed in the state for eight hundred twenty hours or more in a qualifying period.
The premium for 2019 is 0.4% of an employee's gross wages. Under the new law, employers may split the cost of the program with employees by withholding up to 63.33% of the premium from employee paychecks; however, employers may elect to pay all or some of the employees' share of the premium on their behalf. Employers with fewer than 50 employer are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium but are required to report and remit (CertiPay Online handles on your behalf).
More information can be found at the below links:
- Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave
- Small Business exemptions
- Small Business assistance
- Independent Contractors
- Employer Guide
- Worker Guide
Additionally, Washington offers an Employer Toolkit that can be downloaded. A mandatory posted will be available before January 2020, however, Washington has a provided an optional paystub insert to distribute or post for your employees.