Washington's Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
The Basics of Washington’s Paid Family Leave Program
Starting January 1st, 2019, Washington will require most employers and employees pay Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums. The Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave program is funded through premiums paid by employers and workers in the form of paycheck withholdings and is administered by the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD). The program allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of time off to care for a new child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, and for certain military connected events. Eligible individuals may apply for benefits starting January 1, 2020.
Square Payroll supports WA Paid Family and Medical Leave premium calculations, employee withholdings, premium payments and reporting.
Account Specific Settings
Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium but may opt-in to become eligible for Small Business Assistance. Your business size is calculated on an annual basis on September 30th each year. It is based on your average employee headcount over the previous four quarters as reflected in the reports submitted to the Employment Security Department, not by the number of full time employee positions.
If your business qualifies, be sure to let us know by following these steps:
- Visit the Settings section of your online Payroll dashboard or Square Payroll app.
- On the Business Information tab, under Tax Information, check the box next to WA Paid Family and Medical Leave which states “I have less than 50 employees and did not opt into paying the employer portion of Paid Family and Medical Leave Premiums.”
Note: All employers, no matter how many employees, are responsible for collecting and remitting the employee share of the total premium.
Employee Exemption from Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
All Washington employees are required to participate with few exceptions. Self-employed individuals, federal employees and federally recognized tribes are exempt from the program, but tribes and people who are self-employed may opt in.
To mark an employee exempt from the program:
- Visit the Team section of your online Payroll dashboard or Square Payroll app.
- Select the employee from the list of team members.
- Under the Tax Settings section of the profile, mark the employee “Exempt from Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.”
For additional information about the WA Paid Family and Medical Leave program, please reference the Employment Security Department’s website or the program’s Employer Toolkit. You can also find information about WA Paid Family and Medical Leave in our Town Square blog.