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Small businesses

I own a small business — do I have to participate in Paid Family and Medical Leave?

Washington small businesses are required to participate in the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

My business is an LLC, B Corp or C/S Corp — am I exempt from Paid Family and Medical Leave?

Nearly all Washington businesses are required to participate in the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program. If you have employees, you have to file reports and remit premiums quarterly. LLC owners (members), partners, sole proprietors, and other types of self-employed individuals are not required to participate. However, you can opt in for coverage. Corporate officers, including S-corps, are considered employees under the Paid Family and Medical Leave law and are required to participate.

Am I required to file a quarterly report?

Every business is required to file a quarterly report with the Employment Security Department. When you submit your report, you will also pay the premiums you collected from your employees or that you are contributing yourself on their behalf.

I am an LLC or sole proprietor. I have no employees and do not want to opt in. Do I have to report?

LLC owners (members), partners, sole proprietors and other types of self-employed individuals are not required to participate. If you have employees you must report their hours and wages, but you do not have to include yourself. Note: Corporate officers are employees and are not considered self-employed.

Do employees of my small business qualify for leave?

Nearly every Washington worker can qualify for Paid Family and Medical Leave if they’ve worked a minimum of 820 hours (about 16 hours a week) in Washington over the last year. The 820 hours can be at one job or combined from multiple jobs.

Full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal work counts. All the hours employees work in Washington count toward eligibility, even if they work multiple jobs or switch employers.

As a small business, am I required to hold a job for an employee who’s on Paid Family and Medical Leave?

If you have 50 or more employees, the employee is eligible for job protection provided they have worked for you for 12 months or longer and have worked 1,250 hours in the year before the first day they take Paid Family and Medical Leave.

What grants are available for small businesses?

Small business assistance grants are available to employers with 150 or fewer employees. These grants provide up to $3,000 to help cover costs associated with employees on leave. An employer may apply for up to 10 of these grants each year (one per employee on leave).

  • Businesses with fewer than 50 employees must begin paying the employer portion of the premium (which is optional for businesses of this size) to be eligible for these grants. You do not need to pay the additional amount before applying for the grant.
  • Businesses with 50-150 employees are required to pay the employer portion of the premium and are automatically eligible to apply for these grants.