Leave Benefits

Washington workers are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave starting in 2020. There are some limited circumstances where a worker may be eligible for up to 18 weeks of leave. The benefit is paid as partial wage replacement, so a worker could receive up to 90% of their average weekly wage while on leave.

On this page: QualificationPaymentNotice to EmployerJob ProtectionBenefit Calculation

Quick Facts

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave provides up to 90% of your weekly wage while on leave.
  • You must qualify for benefits by working 820 hours leading up to leave date.
  • You, or someone in your family, must experience a qualifying event in order to make a claim for benefits.
  • Generally, the benefit is up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement. Up to 18 weeks in very limited circumstances.
  • You must provide 30 days notice to your employer when it is reasonable.

Qualification

You must work 820 hours in the qualifying period to be eligible for this benefit. The qualifying period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters from the day you intend to take leave.

Workers covered by a Voluntary Plan have different qualification requirements and should see the Voluntary Plan Page for more details.

Payment

The benefit of this program comes in the form of partial wage replacement. The proportion of your wage you receive depends on how much you earn in a typical week. Below you will find examples of how to calculate this proportion.

Payments will be made to you within 14 days of the Department receiving a properly completed weekly application. Payments are made biweekly after that.

Payment rules are being created during Phase 3 of rulemaking, and you can participate by following instructions on our rulemaking page.

Notice to Employer

When taking Family Leave, you must provide your employer 30 days notice when the qualifying event is foreseeable. If the event is not foreseeable, you must provide notice that is practicable. For example; if your family member is suddenly taken ill and requires your care, you are required to provide notice of your intention of taking leave as soon as is practical.

Job Protection

Job protection may be available if you work for an employer with 50 or more employees, you have worked for that employer for 12 months or longer, and have worked 1250 hours in the year to date before the first day of leave. 

Job protection may be denied when you are among the highest paid 10% of employees that are within 75 miles of the facility you work in if:

  • Denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the employer;
  • The employer notifies the employee of the intent of the employer to deny restoration on such basis at the time the employer determines that the injury would occur; and
  • The leave has commenced and the employee elects not to return to employment after receiving the notice.

More details about job protection can be found in the RCW.

Benefit Calculation

Benefit Calculation Summary

The weekly benefit for Paid Family and Medical Leave is the dollar amount a covered employee will receive weekly while claiming these benefits. The dollar amount is capped at $1,000 with a minimum of $100. To calculate this amount, you will need the employee’s average weekly wage (the employee’s total wages paid during the two highest paid calendar quarters during the qualifying period, divided by 26, rounded down to the nearest whole dollar) and the state average weekly wage ($1,190*).

If the employee makes less than half of the state’s average weekly wage ($595*), the weekly benefit is equal to 90% of the employee’s average weekly wage, rounded down to the nearest dollar.

If the employee makes more than half of the state’s average weekly wage, there are two numbers to calculate. To calculate the first number, take 90% of the employee’s average weekly wage, capped at half of the state’s average weekly wage. To calculate the second number, take 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage that is above half of the state’s average weekly wage.

The sum of these two numbers, rounded down to the nearest dollar with a cap of $1,000, is the employee’s weekly benefit.

*The state average weekly wage is recalculated annually.

Benefit Calculation Examples

Example 1

An employee’s average weekly wage is $400. Since this amount is less than half of the state’s average weekly wage, the employee receives 90% of their weekly wage.

The weekly benefit in Example 1 is $360.

Example 2

An employee’s average weekly wage is $950. Since this number is more than half of the state’s average weekly wage, calculate the first and second numbers, then add them together.

The first number is equal to 90% of the employee’s total average weekly wage with a cap of half the state’s average weekly wage. 90% of $950 is $855. Since $855 is higher than $595, the first number is $595.

The second number is equal to 50% of the amount of the employee’s average weekly wage that is higher than half the state’s average weekly wage. The amount of the employee’s average weekly wage that is higher than half the state’s average weekly wage is $355 ($950 - 595). 50% of this amount makes the second number $177.50.

Add the two numbers together. The weekly benefit in Example 2 is $772.

Example 3

An employee’s average weekly wage is $2,100. Since this number is more than half of the state’s average weekly wage, calculate the first and second numbers, then add them together.

The first number is equal to 90% of the employee’s total average weekly wage with a cap of half the state’s average weekly wage. 90% of $2,100 is $1,890. Since $1,890 is higher than $595, the first number is $595.

The second number is equal to 50% of the amount of the employee’s average weekly wage that is higher than half the state’s average weekly wage. The amount of the employee’s average weekly wage that is higher than half the state’s average weekly wage is $1,505 ($2,100 - 595). 50% of this amount makes the second number $752.50.

The weekly benefit in Example 3 is $1,000, since the sum of the two numbers is $1,347.50, which is greater than the maximum benefit amount of $1,000.