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FAQ 5: Paid Family Leave

Washington's Paid Family Leave program took effect on January 1, 2020. Over 10,000 Washingtonians filed for benefits in the first week alone but many employers still have questions. We'll try to answer a few of them in this week's FAQ5.

Stacking Benefits

Can a worker with some form of temp disability benefit collect both Paid Family Medical Leave and the disability benefit at the same time?

Sometimes

If PFMLA doesn’t fully cover an employee’s salary replacement the employee is allowed to "top off" with supplemental programs. If the employer offers a short term disability benefit, the employer may designate that as a supplemental benefit. If the employer does not designate the supplemental program it is possible the two would offset.

Employer Notification

Does the State notify employers when their employee applies for Paid Family Medical Leave?

YES

The Employment Security Division will give an employer notice that an employee has been either granted or denied a request for paid leave. This provides the employer with an opportunity to protest. When possible, ESD will ask the employer to verify if the employee notified them 30 days prior to taking leave.

Featured Expert
Staff, Joe

Joe Fain

CEO, Bellevue Chamber
As a State Senator, Joe was the prime sponsor of Washington's Paid Family Leave Program. He has his JD/MBA from Seattle University.

Job Retention

A new employee at a large company takes Paid Family Medical Leave after being on the job for only two weeks. Does the employer need to hold the job for them when she returns?

Probably not

The "job protection" requirements of Washington's State program are very similar to the Federal Medical Leave Act. While employees are entitled to take State Paid Family Medical Leave at any time if they qualify, they still must have at least 1250 hours with their current employer to have a job waiting for them when they return to work under FMLA.

Vacation & PTO

Can an employer force an employee to take Paid Time Off or Vacation before using Paid Family Medical Leave?

No

Employers may not force employees to exhaust other forms of leave before the employee is entitled to take Paid Family Medical Leave.

Intermittent Leave

Can employees take a half-day off on receive payment through the Paid Family Medical Leave program?

No

Intermittent leave is allowed but the minimum weekly claim must be at least eight consecutive hours. If the employee's intermittent leave does not reach eight consecutive hours the employee would not qualify.

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  • The FAQ5 is for information purposes only. It does not constitute professional advice or legal counsel. Always consult your relevant professional advisor on matters affecting your business.
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