Published on Dec 17, 2018

New year, new leave law: PFML premium collection begins in 2019!

Contact: Logan Bahr, Brandon Anderson

On January 1, 2019, nearly all employers in the State of Washington, including cities and towns, will be required to begin collecting premiums and tracking data on employees in accordance with the new Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law.

What cities must do on January 1, 2019:

  • Begin collecting Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums
  • Budget for the employer share of the premium or confirm that your city is under the 50 employee threshold (which exempts a city from paying the employer portion)
  • Begin preparations for quarterly reporting, including tracking hours and wages of all employees, including paid elected officials, seasonal, temporary, and part-time workers

Things employers should know about PFML:

  • Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD) has determined that paid elected officials are considered “employees” under the PFML statute. Unpaid elected officials are not subject to the PFML statute
  • If an employer fails to deduct the employees share of the premium, the employer is considered to have elected to pay that portion of the employee share and may not deduct this amount from any future paychecks
  • ESD will calculate your employee count on an annual basis each year. It is based on your average employee headcount over the previous four quarters as reflected in the reports you submit to ESD. It is not calculated by FTE positions. Your first quarter report to ESD will determine your city’s headcount for 2019
  • When the benefits for Paid Family and Medical Leave become available in 2020, employees will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks (18 weeks in limited, special circumstances) of paid leave after a qualifying event

See AWC’s new PFML resource page for more information. To find further PFML resources visit ESD’s PFML website, download their employer toolkit, and register for AWC’s upcoming PFML webinar. Stay tuned for more PFML updates from AWC.

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