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Sunday, July 16 2017
Benefits Begin January 1, 2020
Washington has enacted a paid family and medical leave law. Highlights of the law are presented below.
Definitions of 'Family' and 'Medical' Leave and Maximum Duration
"Medical leave" means any leave taken by an employee from work made necessary by the employee's own serious health condition.
The maximum duration of paid family leave may not exceed 12 times the typical workweek hours during a period of 52 consecutive calendar weeks. The maximum duration of paid medical leave may not exceed 12 times the typical workweek hours during a period of 52 consecutive calendar weeks. Paid medical leave may also be extended an additional 2 times the typical workweek hours if the employee experiences a serious health condition with a pregnancy that results in incapacity.
Coverage, Eligibility, and Benefit Start Date
Beginning January 1, 2020, family and medical leave are available and benefits are payable to a qualified employee. Following a waiting period consisting of the first 7 calendar days of leave, benefits are payable when family or medical leave is required. However, no waiting period is required for leave for the birth or placement of a child.
The maximum weekly benefit for state family and medical leave that occurs on or after January 1, 2020 is expected to be $1,000. By September 30, 2020 (and by each subsequent September 30th), the state is expected to adjust the maximum weekly benefit amount to 90% of the state average weekly wage. The adjusted maximum weekly benefit amount is expected to take effect on the following January 1st.
The minimum weekly benefit is not expected to be less than $100 per week, except that if the employee's average weekly wage at the time of family and medical leave is less than $100 per week, the weekly benefit will be the employee's full wage.
Notice, Posting, and Recordkeeping Requirements
Each employer must also post and keep posted—in conspicuous places on the employer's premises where notices to employees and applicants are customarily posted—a notice (to be prepared or approved by the commissioner) setting forth excerpts from, or summaries of, the pertinent provisions of the law and information pertaining to the filing of a complaint.
Additionally, an employer must keep at the employer's place of business a record of employment, for a period of 6 years.
Beginning January 1, 2020, family and medical leave are available and benefits are payable to a qualified employee; however, the law contains various effective and applicability dates. Affected employers with questions about the law's impact on workplace policies and practices should contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney.
Click here to read the text of the law.