January is just around the corner, which means all Washington State employers, large and small businesses alike, will be required to begin collecting and remitting the employee premiums for the WA Paid Family Medical Leave starting the first payroll in January.

Employer Responsibilities:

⇒ Notify your employees now of the changes they will see reflected on their paychecks beginning January 2019 (See Paycheck Insert Notification)

⇒ Report employees’ wages, hours and other information required to the Employment Security Department (ESD) – Begins 1st Quarter (due by April 30th)

  • Participation is mandatory for all employers, even companies that are currently exempt from FMLA or Unemployment Insurance (UI) may still be required to participate in this new PFML
  • The reporting process and website are still under development

⇒ Employers with less than 50 employees may elect not to pay the employer portion of the premiums, but must still collect and remit the employee premiums and abide by the ESD reporting requirements

Premium Collection:

Premiums are 0.4% of employee gross wages and are paid quarterly. 1/3 of the premium goes toward Family Leave and the other 2/3 is for Medical Leave. All employees, FT and PT, must pay their premiums.

Gross x .004 = Total Premium

As an example, if an employee has earned $2,500 gross pay in a single pay period, here’s how you’d calculate the premium.

Total Premium Calculation

$2,500 * .004  = $10.

In this example, the total premium would be $10.

Premiums should be withheld from every paycheck. Employers can not collect missed premiums from past payroll and are responsible for paying any amounts missed.

An employer may choose to pay this entire premium on their own. If they choose to withhold a portion from their employees, the maximum they may withhold can be calculated:

The Employee Portion

Family Leave: $10 * .3333 = $3.33

Medical Leave: $10 * .3000 = $3.00

The Employer Portion

Medical Leave: $10 * .3667 = $3.67

Premium withholdings are capped at the Social Security cap of $132,900 annually.

Where to Find More Information:

For up-to-date information related to this insurance program, please go to the WA Employment Security Department website at https://www.esd.wa.gov/paid-family-medical-leave/employers or https://paidleave.wa.gov/