What is a voluntary plan?
Voluntary plans are employer-run paid family and/or medical leave insurance programs. Employers can choose to use a voluntary plan for family leave, medical leave or both. All Washington employers must offer paid family and medical leave whether it’s through a voluntary plan or the state plan. Employers must apply and be approved to operate a voluntary plan.
Questions? Visit the Help Center.
Guidelines for your voluntary plan
The benefits available to employees covered by a voluntary plan must meet or exceed the state plan’s benefits. Benefits must also be extended to all employees of the applying business.
You must apply and be approved to operate a voluntary plan. Once approved, you must submit quarterly reports to the state.
For the first three years of a voluntary plan’s existence, reapproval is required every year. After three years, reapproval is required only if you make changes to the plan. All voluntary plan applications will be subject to a $250 fee, except for mandated renewals.
If a voluntary plan is denied, employees are covered under the state plan.
Best practices for voluntary plan submission
- Read the Voluntary Plan Guide to prepare.
- Identify the gaps in your existing policy from the Paid Family and Medical Leave program requirements.
- Stipulate the leave entitlement specific to Paid Family and Medical Leave.
- Provide sufficient details for determination review.
- Ensure definitions match those required under the law (for example: definition of family).
We do not begin reviewing a voluntary plan application until we receive your payment. We recommend you allow 30 days from the date we receive your payment to the date we issue an application decision.