Small businesses: 150 employees or fewer

Small businesses: Your role and how you benefit

Every business is required to file a quarterly report with the Employment Security Department.

  • Unlike the federal unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), every Washington small business is required to participate in the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program.
  • When you submit your report, you will also pay the premiums you collected from your employees or that you are contributing yourself.

Paid 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 ($137,700 in 2019; $142,800 for 2021).

Estimate your premium

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees do not have to pay the employer portion of premiums.

Are your employees covered under collective bargaining agreements? Learn how these can affect your premiums.


How is business size calculated?

Paid Leave calculates your business’s size on Sept. 30 of each year. The calculation is used to determine your business size for the next calendar year. It is based on your average employee headcount over the previous four quarters as reflected in your quarterly reports. It is not calculated by full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.


Premiums (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 as an added benefit.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees do not have to pay the employer portion of the premium, but employees at small businesses pay their portion, just like employees at large businesses. Employers must still remit the employee portion of the premium, and the employees are fully eligible to receive Paid Leave.


Financial help for small businesses:

Small business assistance grants are here!

These grants provide up to $3,000 to help cover costs associated with employees who take approved Paid Family and Medical Leave. Learn more about eligibility, requirements and the application process in the help center.