Small businesses: Up to 150 employees

Small businesses: Your role and how you benefit

Strengthening businesses of all sizes

Paid Family and Medical Leave strengthens businesses of all sizes by making sure every employee can take paid time off when they need it most. Small businesses participate in Paid Family and Medical Leave—and there’s financial help built into the program to support your business.

Collecting premiums:
Fewer than 50 employees

Paid Family and Medical Leave is funded through premiums paid by employers and employees. The premium is 0.4% of each employee’s gross wages, not including tips, up to the Social Security cap ($132,900 in 2019).

If your business has fewer than 50 employees, your responsibilities are different from larger businesses.

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Employee premium (mandatory for all employees)

About ⅔ of the premium is the employee’s share. Employers are required to pay this portion of the premium to the state for every employee. The premium can be withheld from your employees’ paychecks, or your business can pay it on their behalf.
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Employer premium (optional for businesses with fewer than 50 employees)

About ⅓ of the premium is the employer’s share. If your business has 50 or more employees, you must pay the employer share of the premium. If you have fewer than 50 employees, the employer premium is optional. If your small business chooses to pay the employer share of the premium, you will receive additional benefits for your business.
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Report hours and wages, and pay premiums

Every quarter, you’ll need to report your employees’ hours worked and wages earned and pay any premiums owed.

Filing your quarterly report

Every business is required to file a report with the Employment Security Department every quarter. Your report will include the hours your employees worked and the wages they earned. Along with collecting premiums, these reports are used to calculate the size of your business and also to determine which employees qualify for paid leave.

When you submit your report, you will also pay the premiums you collected from your employees or that you are contributing yourself.

File your report


Small business grants

Grants are available to help businesses with up to 150 employees cover costs when an employee takes time off using Paid Family and Medical Leave:

  • $1,000 for significant wage-related costs that result from an employee being on paid leave
  • Up to $3,000 to cover the cost of hiring a temporary worker for 7 days or more while an employee is on leave

Employers can receive up to 10 grants per calendar year (one per employee on leave).

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees must choose to pay the employer portion of the premium (which is optional for businesses of this size) to be eligible for these grants.

Businesses with 50-150 employees are required to pay the employer portion of the premium and are automatically eligible to apply for these grants.

Business assistance grant applications are not yet available. If your business qualifies for grants you will be able to receive them retroactively for employees who took leave early in 2020.

If you have fewer than 50 employees and want to opt in to be eligible for grants, please do not opt to pay the employer portion of the premium at this time. Any eligible business interested in grants should retain receipts or documentation to show costs incurred by an employee using Paid Family and Medical Leave. You’ll submit this with your grant application(s) when they are available. More information about grants will be available soon.


Tribal businesses: How to opt in

If your business operates on land owned by a federally recognized tribe, you may be able to opt in for Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Businesses that can opt in: Tribal government-owned businesses on tribal land.

Businesses that cannot opt in: Tribal member-owned businesses on tribal land are not eligible for Paid Family and Medical Leave and cannot opt in. Tribal member-owned businesses not on tribal land are included in the program and do not need to opt in.

If you choose to opt in, your employees will have access to paid time off to care for themselves or a family member, just like other Washington employees. When you opt in, you agree to pay the employees’ share of the premium (about .25% of gross wages) for three years. After that, you can participate on an annual basis. You also need to report your employees’ hours and wages every quarter.

Your employees can qualify for paid leave immediately after you opt in as long as you commit to contributing a premium for three years.

You can opt in online or by calling our Customer Care Team at 833-717-2273.

Opt in online

Ready to file your report?