Paid Time Off For Family Leave


Washington will be one of only eight states with paid leave in full effect. This is a big benefit to workers whether it’s a serious health conditions or caring for a family member in need.

Starting in January of 2020, a new insurance program called Paid Family Medical Leave is going into effect, and any person who worked at least 820 hours in the last 12 months and had a qualifying life event can take advantage of the policy. This equals to about 20.5 weeks at 40 hours a week.

Qualifying life events:

  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Serious illness or health condition, including mental health or addiction illnesses
  • Serious illness or health condition of a qualifying family member
  • Certain military events involving family, including the return of a deployed family member

Here are the key details of Bill 1399:

  • To qualify you need to have worked 820 hours in 2019
  • Application acceptance started in January 2020
  • You can take 12 weeks of paid leave a year – to care for yourself or life event
    • You can take up to 18 weeks if one or more significant events happen in the same year
  • You don’t have to take your leave all at once
  • Program is funded by workers
  • If you earn $50,000 or less, less than $2.50 will be taken out of your paycheck each week.

You might be wondering how this compares to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The federal program makes employers give time off up to 12 weeks, but it doesn’t have to be paid.

Insurance premiums that cover family leave are split between the employer(one-third) and the employees (two-thirds) for most employers. However, federal employers and employees, federally recognized tribes and the self-employed are exempt from the new family leave rules. The latter two can decided to opt-in if they want.