On July 5, 2017, Washington became the latest state to enact a paid family and medical leave law, with benefits to go into effect beginning on January 1, 2020.

The new law will provide eligible workers with up to 12 weeks per year of paid medical leave for an employee’s own serious health condition, as well as 12 weeks per year of paid leave for family care purposes, including: (i) care of a family member with a serious health condition; (ii) care of a new child following birth, adoption or foster placement; or (iii) for qualifying exigencies arising out of an employee’s family member being deployed to active duty with the United States Armed Forces.

Workers will become eligible for leave under the law after 820 hours of employment. For purposes of the law, “family members” include an employee’s spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild.

If an employee has a need for both medical and family care leave during the same 52-week period, the employee’s total leave allotment will be capped at 16 weeks.  Additionally, female employees who experience complications relating to pregnancy will be eligible to receive two additional weeks of leave, for a possible 18 weeks total per year.

Employees taking leave under the law will receive up to 90 percent of their average weekly wage, subject to certain caps based on the statewide average weekly wage and up to a total cap of $1,000 per week.  The program will be funded by combined contributions from the employee and the employer. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees will have the ability to opt-out of the employer pay-in requirement, but those small employers who do contribute will be eligible for state-provided reimbursement assistance.  Companies that already offer paid leave that is at least equivalent to the law’s requirements shall be exempt from the program.

Washington’s law comes on the heels of New York’s paid family leave law, which will be going into effect on January 1, 2018 and, when fully phased in, will provide for up to 12 weeks of paid leave for family care purposes.

We will continue to monitor this law and report on any additional developments and/or guidance that may be issued in advance of the effective date.

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Photo of Allan Bloom Allan Bloom

Allan S. Bloom is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and advisor who represents management in a broad range of employment and labor law matters. As a litigator, Allan has successfully defended a number of the world’s leading companies against claims for unpaid wages…

Allan S. Bloom is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and advisor who represents management in a broad range of employment and labor law matters. As a litigator, Allan has successfully defended a number of the world’s leading companies against claims for unpaid wages, employment discrimination, breach of contract and wrongful discharge, both at the trial and appellate court levels as well as in arbitration. He has secured complete defense verdicts for clients in front of juries, as well as injunctions to protect clients’ confidential information and assets.

As the leader of Proskauer’s Wage and Hour Practice Group, Allan has been a strategic partner to a number of Fortune 500 companies to help them avoid, minimize and manage exposure to wage and hour-related risk. Allan’s views on wage and hour issues have been featured in The New York TimesReutersBloomberg and Fortune, among other leading publications. His class-action defense work for clients has saved hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages.

Allan is regularly called on to advise boards of directors and senior leadership on highly sensitive matters such as executive transitions, internal investigations and strategic workforce planning. He also has particular expertise in the financial services industry, where he has litigated and arbitrated cases, including at FINRA and its predecessors, for more than 20 years.
A prolific author and speaker, Allan was the Editor of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Journal from 2012 to 2017. He has served as an author, editor and contributor to a number of leading treatises in the field of employment law, including ADR in Employment Law (ABA/Bloomberg BNA, Senior Editor), Employment Discrimination Law (ABA/Bloomberg BNA, Final Proof Editor), Cutting Edge Advances in Resolving Workplace Disputes (Cornell University/CPR, Editor), The Employment Law Review (Law Business Research, U.S. Chapter Author), and The Complete Compliance and Ethics Manual (SCCE, Chapter Author).

Allan is a member of the NYSBA’s House of Delegates, sits on the Executive Committee of the NYSBA’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He has been recognized as a leading practitioner by Chambers since 2011.

Photo of Laura Fant Laura Fant

Laura Fant is a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group. Her practice is dedicated to providing clients with practical solutions to common (and uncommon) employment concerns…

Laura Fant is a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group. Her practice is dedicated to providing clients with practical solutions to common (and uncommon) employment concerns, with a focus on legal compliance, risk management and mitigation strategies, and workplace culture considerations.

Laura regularly counsels clients across numerous industries on a wide variety of employment matters involving recruitment and hiring, employee leave and reasonable accommodation issues, performance management, and termination of employment . She also advises on preparing, implementing and enforcing employment and separation agreements, employee handbooks and company policies, as well as provides training on topics including discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Laura is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog and The Proskauer Brief podcast.