Is participation in the program mandatory?

Nearly all employers in Washington state have responsibilities under the Paid Family and Medical Leave program, including small businesses, state and local government agencies and non-profits, faith organizations and other typically tax-exempt associations. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of premiums, but must remit employee premiums and report employee wages, hours and more to ESD. Federal employees, federally recognized tribes and self-employed people are exempt from this program, but federally recognized tribes and self-employed workers may opt-in.

Voluntary plans may be an option for an employer who wants to operate their own paid family or medical leave programs. Employers must apply and be approved to operate a voluntary plan. More information is available on our voluntary plan page.