The Washington Work and Family Coalition, and the many people who shared their experiences helped win essential improvements to Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program during the 2021 Legislative Session.
We are excited to share that people can now claim these new benefits!
Covering All Families
Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program now covers all families. Effective July 25, you can qualify for family leave benefits if you are caring for someone with whom you have a close relationship who has a serious health condition and relies on you for care. It could be your unmarried partner, cousin, great-aunt, or dear friend. Previously only a set list of close relatives was covered.
This important expansion makes the program more equitable, allowing people to care for the ones they love in a time of need.
Adjusting for COVID Impacts
If you need PFML but couldn’t work enough hours last year to qualify due to the pandemic – perhaps because of a closed business, loss of child care, or COVID health needs – you may still be able to receive benefits.
Benefits can be retroactive to January 2021. If you already applied for PFML in 2021 but were denied benefits for not having worked at least 820 hours last year, you may qualify now.
Here is how to have your claim re-evaluated:
- Log in to your Paid Leave account.
- Select the “Request for Review” link in the “Take Action” box from your account homepage.
- Select the topic “Employment History” and then select the claim number.
- Follow the instructions on the screen and upload any additional information, if needed.
For people who need family or medical leave benefits anytime during 2021 through March 31, 2022 but lost work time due to COVID impacts, ESD will automatically check their 2019 and early 2020 work history to see if they qualify under the expanded eligibility. Learn more.
Do you have an experience to share or want to get involved?
EOI and the Washington Work and Family Coalition continues to work with community partners, program administrators, and state policymakers to ensure Washington’s PFML program is serving all workers, families, and businesses well. If you have an experience to share or want to get involved, please contact EOI Advocacy Director, Gabriela Quintana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program provides up to 12 and in some cases up to 18 weeks of benefits for people who are caring for a new child, recovering from a serious health condition or childbirth, or caring for a loved one with a serious health condition. Please visit Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave website to learn more and to apply.
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