Paid Family and Medical Leave Update

Learn about updates to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program clarifying employee waiting periods, conditional waivers and supplemental benefits.

Passed by the legislature in 2017, Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) is a state program that offers workers in Washington the opportunity to receive partial wage replacement when taking leave to recover from an illness or injury, to bond with a new child, to care for a sick or injured family member, or for certain military connected events. This session, the legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2614, which updates the original law to clarify employee waiting periods, conditional waivers and supplemental benefits.

HB 2614 modified the original requirements for an employer to receive a conditional waiver. As a result, employees that qualify for the waiver must primarily perform work outside the state, as opposed to being geographically based out of the state. Additionally, the bill specifies that the qualifying period to determine in-state employment is four consecutive quarters.

While current law requires a waiting period for PFML claims of the first seven consecutive calendar days for all claims excluding the birth of a child, HB 2614 specifies that eligible employees can satisfy the waiting period while simultaneously receiving paid time off. The new language also exempts certain military leave from the waiting period.

HB 2614 clarifies that supplemental benefit payments provided by an employer (such as paid time off) will not reduce PFML benefits and should be in addition to the PFML benefits received.

These updates take effect June 11, 2020.