Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)

  • The Paid Family and Medical Leave program (PFML) is a mandatory statewide insurance program, administered by the Employment Security Department (ESD), which provides paid family and medical leave to eligible employees.

    Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program does not replace the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and in many cases, PFML and FMLA will run concurrently.

    Eligibility

    Employees can receive PFML benefits if they meet eligibility criteria and experience a qualifying event.  Eligible employees have worked at least 820 hours in the state of Washington during one of the following:
         • The first 4 of the last 5 calendar quarters
         • The last 4 calendar quarters immediately before the application for leave

    Qualifying Events

    Family Leave

    • Leave to bond with the employee’s child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, or the first 12 months after the placement of a child under the age of 18 with the employee
    • Leave to participate in providing care for a family member due to the family member’s serious health condition
    • Leave because of a qualifying military exigency as permitted under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act

    Medical Leave

    Medical leave is any leave taken by an employee from work due to the employee’s own serious health condition. Serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity; or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider for:

    • An illness or injury that incapacitated you for 3 or more consecutive days
    • A chronic serious health condition (like diabetes or epilepsy)
    • Incapacity during pregnancy or for prenatal care
    • Treatment for substance abuse
    • Any period of absence from work to receive treatments and recover, like for radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis.

    The healthcare provider will determine whether the illness or injury meets the definition of a “serious health condition.”

    Employee Benefits

    The weekly PFML benefit amount is calculated by ESD and will depend on how much the employee earns in a typical week. The maximum weekly benefit is $1,000. The minimum claim duration payment is for 8 consecutive hours of leave.

    Qualified Washington state workers are eligible for:

    • Up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave
    • Up to 16 weeks of leave when family and medical leave are used in combination (e.g., birth mother pregnancy and parental leave)
    • An additional 2 weeks of leave is available as a result of pregnancy complications

    *Employer group benefits can be maintained while on PFML however premium payment arrangements must be made. Visit WA State Health Care Authority PEBB for more information: https://www.hca.wa.gov/employee-retiree-benefits/continuation-coverage/how-determine-eligibility 

    Requesting Leave

    Employees must provide at least 30-day notice before the leave begins for a foreseeable event such as the birth or placement of a child or a planned surgery. If the need for leave is unforeseeable, like an accident or sudden illness, employees must provide notice as soon as practical.

    *Employees must be on a leave of absence in order to file a claim for PFML benefits. 

    *Note: While on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) DRS retirement service credits are not earned. 

    Filing a Claim

    Filing a paid leave benefits claim with Employment Security Department is a separate process from taking a leave of absence from ESD 105. Even when an employee has submitted medical or other documentation to support their need for a leave of absence from ESD 105, Employment Security Department will ask for documentation to support their claim for paid benefits. Claims can be filed online through the state’s Paid Family & Medical Leave web page.

    While filing, ESD 105 employees should use Employer UBI # 600189874. When asked if employer offers supplemental benefit, for employees, answer no.

    Information about Supplemental Benefits

    ESD 105 has decided not to designate certain paid time off benefits as supplemental benefits. This means employees cannot choose to use paid time off to supplement or “top up” the money they receive as partial wage replacement from the Employment Security Department while on a PFML-eligible leave. Employees cannot receive both paid time off from ESD 105 and the PFML benefit funds from Employment Security Department for the same period.

    Return from Leave Rights

    Employees who have been employed by ESD 105 for 12 months or more; and have worked for ESD 105 for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the leave start date, will be restored in one of the following manners:

    • Position of employment held by the employee when the leave commenced
    • Equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment

    ESD 105 requires that an employee provide certification from the employee’s healthcare provider that the employee is able to resume work and that an employee on leave periodically report on their status and intention to return to work as a condition of restoration.

    Additional Information and Questions

    Visit the Employment SecurityDepartment's Paid Family & Medical Leave web page for additional information including definitions. Questions about leaves may be directed to Veronica Naranjo, Director of Human Resources, at veronica.naranjo@esd105.org or 509-454-2858 (ext. 858)