Beginning January 1, 2019, Washington state will join the small group of states mandating paid family and medical leave (“PFML”) for Washington state employees.  Here are some of the key questions our clients are asking:  What is the purpose of the law?  Is our business required to collect the employer and employee premiums and implement the state reporting requirements beginning in 2019? How does my current paid family and medical leave program work with the new law and should I continue to use my program or adopt the state’s program?

Equinox can help answer these questions and help you implement a program that meets your business needs and comply with the law.  First, we can advise you of the legal requirements of this new state-run insurance program and what will be expected of your business.  PFML reporting and premium collection requirements begin on January 1, 2019.   Equinox can counsel you on the premium and reporting requirements, employee notification requirements and steps that you can take to be prepared for the new program before it begins in 2019.

Next, if you have an existing voluntary Paid Family Medical Leave Program and would like to continue using the plan after the State’s program begins in 2019, then you must seek approval from the state.  The benefits available to employees covered by a voluntary plan must meet or exceed the state plan’s benefits.  To apply for approval of your plan, you must submit an application to the state for approval.  Note – employers who have voluntary plans approved by the state by December 31, 2018, will not be required to collect state plan premiums with the first paycheck in January 2019.  Equinox can evaluate your voluntary PFML plan for compliance with the state requirements and assist you with the application process if you decide to continue your program and seek state approval.

Finally, under the new program, employees will not be eligible to take PFML until January 1, 2020, when the program goes into full effect.   Over the course of the next year, the state will be issuing additional regulations and guidance regarding the program.  Equinox can help you prepare draft policies and procedures in 2019 to implement these changes before 2020 when the program takes full effect.

Equinox can assist your business with understanding these new requirements.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (425) 250-0205.  We will continue to provide updates as additional rules are promulgated.

Equinox is also providing two FOCUS Events in December covering essential legal updates for your business.  We will have a portion of the seminar devoted to the new Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave requirements.  If you would like to attend our Federal Way December 5th event click here. If you would like to attend out December 11th Focus event in Bellevue, click here.

 

 

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