About Paid Family & Medical Leave

Our mission: To provide an easily accessible benefit that helps employers and employees maintain economic stability and peace of mind in challenging times.

Our vision: Washingtonians are able to take the time to care for themselves and the people they love.

Starting in 2020, Washington will be the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave benefits to workers. The program is funded by premiums paid by both employees and many employers, and is administered by the Employment Security Department (ESD). This insurance program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks, as needed, when they welcome a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative and for certain military-connected events. If workers experience multiple events in a given year, they may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, or up to 18 weeks if the employee experiences a serious health condition with a pregnancy that results in incapacity.

As directed by the Legislature, premium assessment began on Jan. 1, 2019 and benefits can be taken starting Jan. 1, 2020.

Learn more about our program by downloading an infographic or fact sheet:

Overview infographic (English)

Overview infographic (Spanish)

Military families infographic

Paid Family and Medical Leave vs. Paid Sick Leave (English)  

Paid Family and Medical Leave vs. Paid Sick Leave (Spanish) 

Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds

The Ombuds is appointed by the governor and serves as an independent third-party to help workers and employers in their dealings with the program. The Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds is a neutral, independent third party and maintains full autonomy from the department. For more information on their role or to ask for their assistance, visit the Ombuds website.