Washington’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave program will launch a beta version of its technology platform in April 2019, and go live to the general public July 1, 2019.
The Employment Security Department had previously targeted 2019 quarter one reporting and payments for all employers to start April 1, 2019, but is adding in a beta phase to allow a smaller group of employers to submit reports and payments and provide feedback on their experience before launching the platform at scale.
This phased approach will extend the timeline for reporting and premium payments for 2019 quarter one for most employers while supporting the timely delivery of benefit claims in Jan. 2020.
“I am proud of the great work being done by our teams to develop the new Paid Family and Medical Leave technology system and services and am confident this phased rollout will result in a better customer experience when employers come into the system for the first time,” said Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “All the functions for reporting and benefits claims are built on this platform, so we are taking every opportunity for customer input before releasing at scale.”
Paid Family and Medical Leave was created through a bipartisan effort in the state Legislature in 2017. This statewide insurance program will allow workers in Washington up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member through serious illness or injury, parental leave to bond with a new child coming into the home, and for military families for certain service-connected events. Between 16 and 18 weeks of paid leave is available in more extreme circumstances.
Employers began collecting premiums for the program on Jan. 1, 2019, with benefit claims set to begin Jan. 1, 2020. All employers will continue to withhold premiums as usual and submit payments and reports for 2019 quarters one and two between July 1 – July 31, 2019.
“We are mindful the extended timeline may impact employers, so I encourage everyone to go to paidleave.wa.gov for more information or reach out to the Customer Care Team with questions or concerns,” LeVine added.
Information regarding the extended timeline will be sent to employers via email and postal mail. An employer toolkit that includes premium calculation and reporting information, sample employee communications and more, is available for download at paidleave.wa.gov/toolkits. Additional program information and updates can be found at paidleave.wa.gov.