Family Leave Washington law changes go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020
Starting at the new year, a new insurance program called Paid Family Medical Leave is going into effect, and any person who worked at least 820 hours in the last 12 months and had a qualifying life event can take advantage of the policy. This equals about 20.5 weeks at 40 hours a week.
Workers can receive between 12 and 18 weeks of paid leave depending on circumstances for the following qualifying life events:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Serious illness or health condition, including mental health or addiction illnesses
- Serious illness or health condition of a qualifying family member
- Certain military events involving family, including the return of a deployed family member
Insurance premiums that cover the family leave are split between the employer (one-third) and the employees (two-thirds) for most employers, according to Washington Labor and Industries. Many Washington workers have already seen a few dollars come out of each paycheck in 2019 to fund the program.
Federal employers and employees, federally recognized tribes and the self-employed are exempt from the new state family leave rules. However, the latter two can decide to opt-in.