Sun Life is eager to meet your Washington PFML needs for Self-Insured private plan administration. We anticipate quoting for January 1, 2022 effective dates starting in March 2021. Please speak to your Sun Life Sales Representative for more information.
Washington has passed a paid family and medical leave law that will require employers to provide paid family and medical leave (PFML) benefits to employees who work in the state as of January 1, 2020. Premium collection to support these benefits began January 1, 2019. Premium is funded by employee and employer contributions. The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) is the agency responsible for administering the PFML law. Information from the ESD can be accessed here and the state has created a PFML website that can be at www.paidleave.wa.gov.
This site is created for our broker and employer Clients to help them comply with employer responsibilities under the WA PFML law. Please visit this site often for updates as the regulations and ESD polices evolve.
Private plan administration
Maximum benefit amounts
View our complete list of answers to frequently asked questions.
All employers with one or more employees.
A covered employee is eligible when he or she works 820 hours in WA during the qualifying period. This is 820 hours for any employer in Washington. Employees are not required to work 820 hours for their current employer to be eligible.
Once an employee has met the 820-hour threshold, they are eligible to apply for leave even if they are no longer employed.
The benefit amounts for WA PFML are as follows:
Yes, there is a waiting period of the first seven consecutive calendar days beginning with the Sunday of the first week an eligible employee starts taking PFML.
Medical leave is any leave from work made necessary by the employee’s own serious health condition*.
Family leave is available:
*The definition of serious health condition aligns with that used under the federal FMLA. Namely, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition involving inpatient care or continuing treatment.
Covered family members include employee’s spouse or state registered domestic partner, child, parent of the employee, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor child, a person who is a de facto parent, a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis or a person to whom the employee stood in loco parentis when the person was a minor child.
An employee is eligible to be restored to the employee’s previous or an equivalent job position with equivalent pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment if the employee:
Premiums are 0.4% of gross wages paid. Employers may withhold approximately 63% of the premium from employee wages (or employers may elect to pay that portion themselves). Therefore, the maximum an employer may withhold from employee contributions is 0.253% of wages.
An employer that elects to pay all or a portion of its employees’ premiums must give written notice at least one pay period before change in its elected payment.
Premium collection began January 1, 2019, and leave benefits become available beginning January 1, 2020.
Each year, the ESD will post the premium rates for family and medical leave for the following calendar year by November 30.
Yes. Employers may seek approval to meet their obligations of the WA PFML law through a private plan.
Basic requirements of a private plan include the following:
Sun Life is eager to meet your Washington PFML needs for private plan administration (administrative services only). We anticipate quoting for January 1, 2022 effective dates in March 2021. Please speak to your Sun Life Financial Sales Representative for more information.
Yes. While the WA PFML law creates certain paid benefits for leave because of an employee’s own health condition or for covered caregiving reasons, the WA PFML law is not intended to replace benefits provided by employers through Short Term Disability (STD) plans and programs. It is important to know that cancelling STD benefits could leave your employees unprotected if they become disabled for these reasons:
Benefit amount for higher-income employees. The WA PFML max weekly benefit may be insufficient for high-income earners who require greater income replacement.
Consequences of combined 16 weeks of family and medical leave. If an employee takes 16 weeks of family leave in a 12-month period, the employee may be left without income replacement for their own serious health condition in the same timeframe.
Impact of intermittent leave. WA PFML can be taken intermittently so an employee may substantially reduce and/or exhaust their benefits be left without income replacement protection if they become seriously and continuously disabled thereafter.
Short-term disability may offer additional features and benefits. STD policies may include employee-facing features that improve their experience: first-day hospitalization, survivor benefits, and, most important, return-to-work and vocational rehabilitation programs. Employees can still access these features even if they are approved for both WA PFML and STD.
Sun Life is committed to assisting you in complying with the requirements of the new WA PFML law and with providing valuable employee benefits to your employees. We also offer leave and accommodations administration services. Please reach out to us and we will evaluate your benefit plans and compliance needs from a holistic perspective and provide guidance and services to meet your and your employees’ needs.
Sun Life’s self-funded or administrative-services-only WA PFML solution will be administered by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA). This service is not insurance.
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SLPC 29640 01/21 (exp. 01/23)