News & Articles

Voluntary Plan Application for Paid Family and Medical Leave Now Available

Published on September 19, 2018

Beginning January 1, 2019, all Washington employers must begin to deduct premiums from employees’ paychecks to contribute to the state plan for paid family and medical leave benefits unless the employer has an approved Voluntary Plan allowing the employer to offer these benefits on its own. The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is now accepting Voluntary Plan applications for employers who want to manage a paid family and medical leave plan internally. The application and ESD’s Voluntary Plan Guide are found online.

Employers electing to offer a Voluntary Plan must meet or exceed state plan benefits and be approved by the ESD before implementation.  To be approved, employer benefits must meet or exceed the state’s plan in the following areas:

  • Eligibility
  • Premium deduction amount
  • Leave duration
  • Weekly benefit
  • Job protection under FMLA
  • Maintenance of health benefits under FMLA

If approved, re-approval is required annually for the first three years. After that time, re-approval is required only if the employer makes changes to the plan. If a Voluntary Plan is denied, employees are covered under the state plan.


For questions, please contact any member of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor department.

Shannon Lawless is an attorney in Ryan Swanson’s Employment, Rights & Benefits Group and can be reached at [email protected].

This message has been created by the Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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