Paid Family Leave

in Washington State

WASHINGTON'S NEW plan for paid family leave


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Paid family leave is a benefit provided to employees who must or should take medically recommended time off work to care for a newborn, treat or recover from a serious illness, or care for a family member.

While more than 180 countries already require paid maternity leave, only four states and the District of Columbia provide paid family leave in the United States.

Under a new bipartisan plan Washington will be the fifth state to provide this important benefit to working people under legislation developed by a broad array of stakeholders, including employers and labor advocates.

What's the plan?

  • Benefit available to all full-time employees beginning in 2020.
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth of a child, to recover from a serious medical condition or to care for a family member with an annual total of 16 weeks.
  • Employee would receive 90% of half the state's average weekly wage and 50% of wages up to a maximum of $1,000 per week.
  • Premiums paid by employee payroll deduction make up 63% of overall funding.
  • Employer contributions make up 37% of program funding.
  • Provides a uniform statewide system that follows employees when they change jobs or move locations.

Calculate your Premiums & Benefits

Broad support for paid family leave

"Not only would a paid leave program increase labor force participation rates by encouraging women to stay in the labor force when pregnant as opposed to dropping out entirely, it’s also been shown that children fare much better when mothers and fathers have access to paid parental leave."

Brookings Institute, "It's time to make paid parental leave happen" - June 16, 2017

Click here to read research by the Brookings Institute and American Enterprise Institute on paid family leave.

Why paid family leave for employ-ees?

  • No one should face economic insecurity due to a medical situation, whether it's dealing with a serious injury or bonding with a new child.
  • Washington's plan would offer the highest wage replacement plan in the country, with low-income workers receiving a higher share of their wages than others.
  • Currently low-income mothers are less able to spend the doctor recommended time with their newborn due to economic concerns.
  • Statewide plan is fully portable between employers and locations.

Why paid family leave for Employ-ers?

  • Provides a low-cost benefit that employees and voters support.
  • Plan includes a uniform statewide standard improving administration and regulatory processes.
  • Benefit has shown to improve employee retention and reduces working training and turnover costs.
  • Strikes a reasonable balance between employee and employer paid premiums, significantly better than potential initiatives that have been discussed.
  • Small businesses (less than 50 employees) are exempt from paying premiums.
  • Includes grant for employers to train people needed to fill in for employees on leave.
  • Maintains federal Family Medical Leave Act job protections to avoid costly duplicative standards and to ease administration and predictability of program for employers.


NW Grocery Association

Washington Bankers Association

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

Association of General Contractors of Washington



Avista Corporation

Puget Sound Energy

Puget Sound Security, Inc.

Washington Working Families Coalition

Association of Washington Business

Washington Hospitality Association


Washington Technology Industry Association

Puget Sound Security, Inc.

Stoel Rives

TrueBlue, Inc.

Tech Washington


Virginia Mason

Touchstone Development