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How self-employed Paid Leave works

How does Paid Family and Medical Leave work for self-employed people?

As a self-employed Washingtonian, you’re not required to participate in the program, but if you elect coverage you’ll pay quarterly premiums and 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, or 18 weeks if you experience pregnancy- or birth-related complications.

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

You are NOT self-employed if you are an employee of a company you own, including being paid by the corporation. If this is your situation, you are required to withhold premiums and report yourself with all of your other employees. See Employer section.

If I participate in Paid Family and Medical Leave, how much will I pay in premiums?

When you opt in to Paid Family and Medical Leave, you agree to pay the employee share of the Paid Family and Medical Leave premium (about 0.25% of your income) for three years. After that, you choose whether you want to continue participating on a yearly basis.

Once you opt in, you will need to report your wages/earnings every quarter.
For self-employed people, the state determines your hours worked by dividing your reported wages by the state minimum wage. The result needs to equal at least 820 or more. (If you’ve earned at least $11,070 in the last year, you are eligible.)

How do I sign up for Paid Family and Medical Leave?

Log in here to create an elective coverage account, file your quarterly report and pay your premiums.

Once I opt in, when does my coverage start?

Once you create an elective coverage account and complete the opt-in process, your coverage begins the first day of the following quarter. You would be eligible to take leave after your coverage begins.