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Starting in 2020, Washington will be the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave benefits. This benefit offers partially paid leave to care for yourself or a loved one in times of serious illness or injury, to bond with a new child joining your home through birth, adoption or foster placement, and for certain military-connected events if you have a family member in active duty service.

As a worker in Washington, you will experience a few changes in 2019. In your first paycheck of 2019, you might notice a new deduction. For example, if your gross wages are $50,000 per year, you may pay up to about $2.44 from per week. Employers contribute to this program too, so we’re in this together.

In 2020, you will be able to apply for leave when you experience a qualifying event and have worked 820 hours (about 16 hours a week, on average) in the year leading up to your date of leave.

This isn’t like paid sick leave; you will file your claim with the Employment Security Department (ESD), and your payment will come from ESD. Typically, you’ll have access to up to 12 weeks of paid leave. You can learn more at

Do you have questions? Ask your HR representative or ask your questions directly to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program at [email protected]. You can also find them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @PaidLeaveWA.