Millions of Washington workers have access to a new Paid Family and Medical Leave program as of the new year — one that has some of the highest rates of wage replacement and most generous weeks of leave allowable in the nation. Applications for leave can now be filed with the Employment Security Department, with benefits payable from Jan. 1, 2020.

“For the first time in this state, millions of workers will have access to paid leave when they need it most,” stated the Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “Whether it is caring for a spouse receiving cancer treatment, recovering from surgery, or welcoming a new child into the family, this program will have a profound and positive impact on the state of wellbeing for the state of Washington.”

Created through a bipartisan effort in the state Legislature in 2017, the program enables nearly all workers in the state, including part- and full-time, to take up to 12 weeks to care for themselves or a family member through a serious illness or injury, to bond with a new child coming into the home, and for certain service-connected events for military families. Between 16 and 18 weeks is available in some circumstances.

To be eligible, an employee must work 820 hours, approximately 16 hours per week, over the course of a year and experience a qualifying event. A small premium funds the program and is shared by workers and many employers. When a worker goes on leave, they receive partial wage replacement. The benefit is based on income and can cover up to 90 percent of a worker’s typical wage.

For more information, visit this website.