Is participation in the program mandatory?

Generally, yes: Nearly everyone who works in Washington will participate in the program.

Exceptions include workers who are:

  • Federal employees.
  • Employed by a federally recognized tribe.
  • Subject to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was in existence on or before Oct. 19, 2017.
  • Self-employed.

Important details:

  • Self-employed people may opt in to gain access to the benefit.
  • Employees covered under a CBA that was in existence on or before Oct. 19, 2017 are not subject to the rights or responsibilities of paid family and medical leave until the agreement is reopened, renegotiated, or expires. You will not pay premiums or be eligible for leave until the CBA is reopened, renegotiated, or expires.
  • Some employers may choose to offer benefits through a private plan called a voluntary plan. If your employer has an approved voluntary plan, they are required to offer benefits that are equal to or greater than the state plan.