Back to Home

Washington Cares Fund

The Basics of Washington Cares Fund

Starting July 1, 2023, Washington will require most employees to pay Washington Cares (WA Cares) Fund premiums. The Washington Cares Fund program is funded through premiums paid by employees in the form of paycheck withholdings and is administered by the Washington Employment Security Department (WA ESD). The program allows eligible employees who have contributed throughout their working years to receive up to $36,500 of long-term care, starting July 2026. Long-term care refers to services to help a person who cannot perform everyday tasks themselves. Unless exempt, all Washington employees will be subject to a 0.58% tax on all gross wages. WA Cares Fund contributions are not capped at the taxable maximum for social security. 

Square Payroll supports WA Cares Fund premium calculations, employee withholdings, premium payments, and reporting. Contributions will be shown on employees’ pay stubs as “WA State Cares Fund.” Starting with Q3 2023 tax filings, WA Cares will be reported quarterly to the WA ESD on the same report as your WA Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML). You will be able to access this report in the Tax Forms section of your Square Dashboard. The name of the report will be "Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave and WA Cares Fund Report."

Employee Exemption from Washington Cares Fund

All Washington employees are required to participate with a few exceptions. Employees can claim an exemption if any of the following situations apply to them:

  • Living out of state — your primary residence must be outside of Washington. 

  • Temporarily working in Washington with a nonimmigrant visa — you must hold a nonimmigrant visa for temporary workers.

  • A spouse or registered domestic partner of an active-duty military member — you must be married to or have a registered domestic partnership with an active-duty service member in the U.S. armed forces.

  • A veteran with a 70% or greater service-connected disability — you must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having a service-connected disability of 70% or greater.

Employees must apply for an exemption with the WA ESD. After their exemption application is approved they will receive an exemption approval letter. Employees need to provide the exemption approval letter to their employer to be marked exempt. For additional information about exemptions, please reference the Washington Cares Fund website.

How to mark an employee exempt from the program:

  • Collect a copy of the exemption approval letter from your employee

  • Visit the Team section of your online Payroll dashboard or the Square Team App.

  • Select the employee from the list of team members.

  • Under the Tax Settings section of the profile, check the box for “This employee has an approved exemption from Washington Cares Fund.” 

  • The exemption will go into effect the same quarter the box is checked. If you need an exemption to go into effect in a future quarter please reach out to the customer success team.