Self-employed: Electing coverage

Self-employed: Electing Coverage

Sign up for paid time off when you need it most

If you elect coverage for Paid Leave, you can receive paid time off when you have a serious health condition that prevents you from working. Or when you need time to care for a family member or a new child. Or if your family member is about to be deployed overseas or is returning from overseas deployment, that’s when you can take this type of family leave.

Am I self-employed?

You are self-employed if you are:

  • A sole proprietor
  • A joint venturer or a member of a partnership
  • A member of a limited liability company (LLC)
  • An independent contractor (as described in RCW 50A.05.010 (7)(b))
  • Otherwise in business for yourself.

Note: Corporate officers are not self-employed. See Help Center for more on corporations and LLCs.

If you are self-employed and have already elected coverage, Paid Leave works the same way for you as it does for Individuals and Families.

Why sign up for Paid Leave?

As a self-employed Washingtonian, you’re not required to participate in Paid Family and Medical Leave. But if you elect coverage, you’ll have access to up to 12 weeks of paid time off a year to care for yourself or a family member—or 16 weeks for combined medical and family leave after giving birth, or 18 weeks if you experience pregnancy- or birth-related complications.

You can receive Paid Leave after you or a family member experience a qualifying event such as a major surgery, serious illness or injury, a new baby or child joining your family, or a family member’s military deployment.

Once you have elected coverage, you will receive the same benefits as other Washington workers.

What is required when I sign up for coverage?

When you sign up for Paid Leave, you agree to pay the employee share of the Paid Family and Medical Leave premium for yourself. You will pay about 0.25% of your wages/net income for three years. After that, you can participate on an annual basis.

Once you opt in, you need to report your wages/earnings every quarter. You’re enrolled in Paid Leave starting at the beginning of the quarter after you sign up.

To take leave after you sign up, you need to have met the requirement for hours worked. To qualify for leave, you must have worked a minimum of 820 hours (about 16 hours a week) in Washington during the qualifying period, which is about the last year. The 820 hours can be from your self-employment or combined from multiple jobs.

For self-employed wages, the state determines your hours worked by dividing your reported wages by the state minimum wage. (If you’ve earned at least $11,070 in the last year, you are eligible.)

File quarterly reports once you elect coverage. Once you have opted in for Paid Leave, you will receive the same benefits as other Washington workers. And you will file quarterly reports and pay quarterly premiums to the Employment Security Department (ESD). You’ll receive details about how to set up your account and file reports after you opt in.

Here’s when to submit your reports and payments:

Report & Payment Due: April 30
Q1: January, February, March
Report & Payment Due: July 31
Q2: April, May, June
Report & Payment Due: October 31
Q3: July, August, September
Report & Payment Due: January 31
Q4: October, November, December

Ready to sign up for Paid Leave?