Your role is critical
Paid Family and Medical Leave provides paid time off for Washington workers when they need it most. If your patient is experiencing a serious health condition that prevents them from working, or if they have just given birth to a baby, you play a critical role in helping them access paid time off. You also play a critical role in making sure your patient’s family members can take paid time off to care for your patient.
As a healthcare provider, these are your responsibilities:
1. Determine if your patient’s health condition qualifies them for paid leave and how much time off they—and their family members—can receive. The amount of time off is based on medical need.
2. Complete the Certification of Serious Health Condition form and return it to your patient as soon as possible. You can return it in person, by mail or by fax.
It may help to keep copies of the form in your office to support your patients and their family members.
Who qualifies as a healthcare provider?
A healthcare provider is someone licensed to practice medicine or surgery according to your state’s laws. This includes:
- Physicians and osteopathic physicians
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants
- Nurse-midwives and midwives
- Clinical social workers
- Clinical psychologists
- Physical therapists
How do people qualify for paid leave?
For someone to qualify for paid leave, they or their family member must experience a “qualifying event.” From a medical perspective, this includes:
- A major surgery, serious illness or injury
- Giving birth to a baby or experiencing complications in pregnancy
- Receiving treatment for a chronic health condition like diabetes or epilepsy
- Receiving inpatient treatment for substance abuse or for mental health
A comprehensive list of qualifying events can be found here.
Processing times for the program are longer than expected, resulting in delayed payments. What do my patients need to know?
Paid Family and Medical Leave is an important benefit for Washingtonians. Your patients will receive pay for their approved leave retroactively. Learn more on the After you apply page.
Do people have to take all their leave at once?
No, patients do not have to use all their leave at once. For example, someone can take one day off a week for chemotherapy treatment or to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. In cases like this, your role is to determine the start and end dates of your patient’s serious health condition.
For patients whose medical condition could last longer than a year, enter a date one year in the future as the end date of their serious health condition. These patients will update their certification annually if their condition continues for longer than a year.
My patient’s family member wants to apply for paid leave to care for my patient. What do I do?
If your patient’s family member is applying for family leave to care for your patient, you will need to fill out the Certification of Serious Health Condition form (or other acceptable documentation) for the family member. Fill out the form with information about your patient’s health condition, how long it will last and whether your patient will require care. Your patient’s family member will qualify for time off based on this information.
Can patients use something other than the Certification of Serious Health Condition form?
Yes. If a patient prefers, they can use a Family Medical Leave Act form or a doctor’s note instead, but it must include the same information as the Certification of Serious Health Condition form. To streamline this step, you can submit an electronic signature.
How is Paid Family and Medical Leave different from FMLA?
These programs are different.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows some employees to take unpaid leave for family and medical reasons. It only applies to people who work for businesses with 50 or more employees.
Paid Family and Medical Leave is a new state insurance program in Washington that provides paid leave for people when they need to care for themselves or a family member after childbirth or a serious illness or injury, or for certain military-connected events. It applies to just about every business and employee in Washington.