Washington: Paid Family and Medical Leave Act Amended
All Employers with WA Employees
June 9, 2022
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Washington recently amended its Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) to include new reasons for eligible leave, to require Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD) to publish a current list of all employers that have an ESD-approved voluntary plan, and to end a collective bargaining agreement exception to the law.
SB 5649 added the first six weeks of postnatal leave for an incapacitated employee and bereavement to the list of reasons a covered employee can take eligible leave. The first six weeks of postnatal leave for an incapacitated employee is not presumptively considered medical leave. However, the employee may choose to substitute paid family leave. Employees taking leave for this reason cannot be required to submit a certification of a serious health condition.
Eligible employees may take bereavement leave during the seven calendar days after the death of a qualifying family member. A qualified family member is any family member for whom the employee would have qualified for medical leave for the birth of their child or to bond with their child following their birth or placement.
The bill also ends the collective bargaining agreement exception, effective December 31, 2023. Prior to this amendment, PFML did not apply to an employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement that was in existence on October 19, 2017; however, CBA-covered employees would be covered by the law if the CBA expired or was renegotiated.
Finally, ESD must publish a current list of all employers that have an ESD-approved voluntary plan. The list will be found on the ESD website.
- Review the bill here.
- Have PFML policies updated.
- Update leave procedures, as applicable.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on the new requirements.
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