Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Paid Family and Medical Leave

At some point, almost everyone has to take time away from work, whether to care for a new child, help a family member who is sick, or to recover from their own illness. It’s the foundation of our economy – we wouldn’t have a workforce with no one to care for employees – and it’s a key component of leading a fulfilling life. EOI was the catalyzing organization behind Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program, one of the most comprehensive in the nation. As of January 1, 2020, nearly all working Washingtonians can take the time they need to care for their health or that of a loved one without fear of missing a paycheck. EOI continues to work with community partners to ensure equitable access to Washington’s program and advises advocates across the country working toward similar policy.

Learn more about accessing and using Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program here.


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.

Read more…

Research Feed

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Family is Family, Chosen or Otherwise

The Need for More Equitable Paid Sick Leave in Washington

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Washington’s Paid Family & Medical Leave Program After Two Years of Operation

Key lessons for other state and federal Paid Family and Medical Leave programs

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Improving Access to Washington’s Paid Family & Medical Leave Program

SB 5649 factsheet

Paid Family and Medical Leave
BIPOC Women’s Experiences Using Washington’s Paid Family & Medical Leave Program

EOI and Families of Color Seattle conducted listening sessions on BIPOC’s experiences with PFML - here's what we learned

Blog Feed

Paid Family and Medical Leave

June 5, 2024

How Washington’s Paid Leave Benefits Queer and BIPOC Families

Under PFML, Chosen Family is Family

February 10, 2023

Thirty Years of FMLA, How Many More Till We Pass Paid Leave for All?

The U.S. is overdue for a federal paid leave policy