Washington Amends Its Paid Family and Medical Leave Act
Michael A. Griffin & Jonathan M. Minear
The Washington State Legislature has again amended the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Act. This amendment is effective June 9, 2022. Here is a list of the most significant changes to the law:
- First six weeks of postnatal leave for incapacitated employee is presumptively medical leave. During the six-week postnatal period, any PFML used by an employee who is eligible for benefits based on incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care will count as paid medical leave by default, unless the employee chooses to use paid family leave during that period. Such an employee does not need to obtain certification of a serious health condition. This new presumption is still subject to the maximum and minimum weekly benefits, duration, and other conditions and limitations under the law.
- Bereavement Leave. This amendment permits use of paid family leave for bereavement purposes during the seven calendar days after the death of a qualifying family member. This leave is permitted for the death of a family member for whom the employee (1) would have qualified for medical leave for the birth of their child, or (2) would have qualified for family leave to bond with their child following their birth or placement.
- Publication of Employers with Voluntary Plans. The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD), which administers this state leave program, must now publish on ESD’s website a current list of all employers that run their own “voluntary plan” that was approved by ESD.
- Ending CBA Exception. Previously, this law did not apply to an employee who was subject to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was in existence on Oct. 19, 2017, until the CBA was reopened, was renegotiated, or expired. This exception now expires Dec. 31, 2023.
***This article originally appeared on the Jackson Lewis’ Disability, Leave & Health Management blog and was reposted on the DMEC website with their permission.***