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Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (“Program”) is set to take effect January 1, 2020. The Washington State Employment Security Department (WA ESD), the agency responsible for administering the Program, has been working on the last several phases of rulemaking to implement the Program. To date, five phases have been adopted. Recently, WA ESD released updates to the proposed Phase Six of its rulemaking to address the legislative changes and to clarify rules relating to supplemental benefits and voluntary plans. 

According to the ESD timeline, Phase Six should be finalized in November and will take effect on or about December 20, 2019.  

 

Reporting Reminders: 

What reporting do employers need to submit? 

Employers are responsible for reporting to WA ESD on a quarterly basis. Employers must report on the total premiums collected (if any) from employees and on wages and hours worked. Quarterly reporting is due April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 of each year. Fourth Quarter reporting is due January 31, 2020.  

What premiums do employers need to collect? 

The Program is funded by premiums paid by both employees and employers (in some instances). Employees pay the Family Leave premium (which accounts for 1/3 of the total premium) and employers and employees split the payment for medical leave (which accounts for 2/3 of total premium)Employers may be more generous and cover the employee share of the total premium. For more information about benefit premiums, read our article, “Washington State Paid Family Leave Premiums to Begin January 1, 2019. 

Payroll deductions began on January 1, 2019. Employers are responsible for reporting and remitting all premiums collected for the Program to WA ESD. If an employer covers the employee share of the total premium, the employer would simply reduce the premium amount deducted from employee paychecks, cover the difference, and then remit the full amount to the state. For more information about payroll deductions reporting, read our article, “Washington State Paid Family Leave Premiums to Begin January 1, 2019.” 

How can employers submit their reporting? 

Employers can submit their reporting through their Paid Family and Medical Leave customer account through SecureAccessWashington (SAW). WA ESD is planning to release reporting instructions to employers. For more on reporting, see the WA ESD website and reporting timeline frequently asked questions. Employers can also sign up for an online webinar. 

Rulemaking Update – Phase Five and Phase Six: 

Phase Five rules became effective August 31, 2019. Portions of Phase Five rules include:  

  • Employers must report to the ESD the wages paid and the associated hours worked for each employee each calendar quarter.  See WAC 192-540-040.
  • Circumstances when an employee is entitled to employment restoration after leave ends. See WAC 192-700-005. 

On August 29, Washington filed Phase Six of the formal proposed rules, addressing the appeals procedure and clarifies rules relating to supplemental benefits and voluntary plans After a period for public comment and hearings on the proposed rules through November, the rules are set to take effect on or about December 20, 2019.  

Phases One through Five:  

Rulemaking on phases one through five  have been finalized and have already taken effect. 

Additional Resources: 

 

The information and materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. Information provided in this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments and may vary by jurisdiction. The content on this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any particular facts or circumstances. The use of this blog does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship, nor should any such relationship be implied, and the contents do not constitute legal or tax advice. If you require legal or tax advice, please consult with a licensed attorney or tax professional in your jurisdiction. The contributing authors expressly disclaim all liability to any persons or entities with respect to any action or inaction based on the contents of this blog.

 

Lizet Ramirez – Lizet is a Client Compliance Manager for Sequoia One, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Lizet enjoys live music, travel, hiking and spa days.