Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Family and Medical Leave Insurance

How WA’s workers can protect themselves and their families from economic catastrophe

Welcoming a new child, fighting cancer, caring for an aging parent – there are a handful of times in life when we all need to take significant time off work to care for ourselves or our families.

But too many Washington workers face an impossible choice: return to work, sacrificing family health and well-being, or give up economic security. Several states have successfully responded to this problem by creating Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) – insurance that provides employees with income when they need to take an extended period of time off.

Federal and state family and medical leave laws allow workers to take up to 12 weeks off work to care for a new child or sick family member or to recover from their own health condition. But that leave is unpaid, and those laws only apply to about 60% of workers.Those who work for companies with fewer than 50 employees, have been with their employer less than a full year, or work fewer than 24 hours per week on average aren’t covered.

Low-income and part-time workers are less likely to receive any type of workplace benefit without legal protection, and many don’t get a single paid day off.

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