Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave Program

Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits will be available starting Jan. 1, 2020.

  • To qualify for Paid Family and Medical Leave, you must work 820 hours or more in the qualifying period. The qualifying period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters starting from when you make your claim for benefits.

    This benefit cannot be taken without a qualifying event. Leave events can be either Family or Medical.

    Family Leave

    • Care and bond after a baby’s birth or the placement of a child younger than 18
    • Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
    • Certain military-connected events

    Medical Leave

    • Care for yourself in relation to an illness or medical event

How much does it cost?

Paid Family and Medical Leave is an insurance program funded through premiums paid by nearly everyone working in Washington and many of their employers. The rate for 2019 is 0.4% of a worker's wage, about 63% of which is paid by the worker and about 37% is paid by the employer. Premium collection began on January 1, 2019. 


A worker makes $50,000 a year.

Worker pays about $2.44 a week.

Their employer pays about $1.41 a week.

Worker receives a benefit of about $778 per week when out on Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Is participation in the program mandatory?

Generally, yes: Nearly everyone who works in Washington will participate in the program.

Exceptions include workers who are:

  • Federal employees.
  • Employed by a federally recognized tribe.
  • Subject to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was in existence on or before Oct. 19, 2017.
  • Self-employed.

Important details:

  • Self-employed people may opt in to gain access to the benefit.
  • Employees covered under a CBA that was in existence on or before Oct. 19, 2017 are not subject to the rights or responsibilities of paid family and medical leave until the agreement is reopened, renegotiated, or expires. You will not pay premiums or be eligible for leave until the CBA is reopened, renegotiated, or expires.

How do I file a claim?

When you apply for benefits (starting in 2020), you will be able to set up a customer account with Employment Security Department to apply for and manage your claim. The application and benefit payment processes will be customer-focused, and we anticipate designing a simple, fast and friendly experience. This page will be updated with more information when it is available.