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 to apply for paid leave

Visit ApplyNow to get started and download the checklist to make sure you have everything you need.  Download our comprehensive Benefit Guide for additional information about preparing for and using the program. 

Paid time off.  Peace of mind.



At least 8 hours: When you use your paid leave, you have to take at least eight hours off in row. That’s one day for full-time employees but may be more than one day if you work part time.

Typical work week: Your duration of leave is determined based on your “typical workweek hours.” This is your average number of hours worked per week since the beginning of the qualifying period. Salaried, full-time employees are always calculated at 40 hours per week. Your typical workweek hours are multiplied by the maximum number of weeks allowable for the event, usually 12 weeks, creating a bank of hours you can draw from while on leave.

One year: 
You can use paid leave for a year after your leave starts (or, if you have a baby or new child, one year after they join your family). If you don’t use it all within one year, it will not carry over into the next year.

Waiting week: Your “waiting week” is the first week you are approved to file a weekly claim and you will not be paid for that week (this does not apply to leave to bond with a new child). If your qualifying event occurs after Sunday in the first week you need to take leave, the waiting week may be less than a week. During this time, you may use paid time off from your employer, including paid vacation or sick days. For more on the waiting week, go to our more answers page.

How much time you can take and when you can take it?

Most Washington workers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of Paid Family and Medical Leave a year. Some people may qualify for up to 16 or 18 weeks of paid leave. You don’t have to use your leave all at once. For example, you can take one day off a week to care for a family member receiving chemotherapy treatment.

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.