Paid Family and Medical Leave

Passed in 2017 after an almost 20-year fight led by EOI and allies, Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program offers much needed protections to workers needing time off to care for themselves or their families. Since its passage, EOI has worked with the staff of the new Paid Family and Medical Leave office to develop the program which will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Workers will soon be able to take up to 12 weeks paid leave to care for a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster child, a serious health condition, a family member’s serious health condition, or a family member’s military deployment – with up to 18 weeks available in a year, depending on circumstances.

Taking time off to care for oneself or one’s loved ones without fearing a loss of wages or employment shouldn’t be a privilege. Soon, in Washington, it won’t be.

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Terri’s Story, or, Cancer Doesn’t Care How Responsible You Are

Terri did everything right. She and her husband raised three great children – now mostly grown. She was a loyal employee for 14 years and prepared for the future, buying into the short term disability plan her company offered and investing in a 401(k). She even decided it was time to get healthy and lost 30 lbs.

When her cancer diagnosis came, she had family support, a financial cushion, and the legal protection of the FMLA. But none of that proved quite enough to last through two years of treatment and three surgeries. Despite her years of hard work and responsible actions, one bout of seriously bad luck has left Terri worried about her family’s future.

In September 2013, after speaking with some co-workers, Terri became suspicious of symptoms she’d been having. She visited the doctor and after two biopsies learned she had cancer in both breasts. In October, Terri had a lumpectomy and eventually a double mastectomy. In total, Terri has needed to take 3 separate medical leaves from work to deal with her cancer

“It was the worst experience of my life” said Terri.

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Paid Family and Medical Leave
Paid Family and Medical Leave

A Cornerstone of Equity and Opportunity for Workers and Families

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