Washington's paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FLI) program exists in state law, but has yet to be implemented. Although bills to expand and fund it through a modest payroll premium enjoyed strong political support, the legislature postponed implementation of the program until October 2015 in the face of the deepest recession and largest state budget deficit in decades.
When implemented, FLI is slated to provide up to 5 weeks of time off with a weekly benefit of $250 to all parents with a newborn or newly adopted child. It covers all employees who have worked at least 680 hours in the previous year, and provides job protection for workers in companies of more than 25 people.
The financial security and time to care provided by paid family leave are more important than ever in times like these. EOI and the Washington Work and Family Coalition are working to expand FLI to include care for seriously ill family members and the worker’s own serious health condition, and to secure dedicated funding for the program.
The Washington Family and Medical Leave Act of 2006 does not provide new rights, but ensures the continuation of protections workers and their families in Washington state now have under the federal FMLA.
The Act guarantees: up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a new child, seriously ill child, spouse, or parent, or the worker's own serious health condition; job protection while on leave; availability to employees who have worked a full year and for at least 1250 hours (in companies with 50 or more workers or in public jobs); and preserves the definition of serious health condition and terms for use of intermittent leave currently in U.S. Department of Labor rules.
Washington State's Family Care Act allows workers with available paid sick leave or other paid time off to care for a sick child with a routine illness; a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent with a serious or emergency health condition; and an adult child with a disability. An employer may not discipline an employee for leave taken under this law.
Expert opinions and personal stories about the need for family leave insurance from people caring for their children, spouse or parents.
The Family Security Act
Establishing Family and Medical Leave Insurance
Family Care Act
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