Washington Family Leave Insurance – Benefits for All Families

In October 2009, parents of newborn and newly adopted children in Washington will be able to take up to 5 weeks off work after a 1 week waiting period, with a benefit of $250 a week for full-time workers, pro-rated for part-time.

But will all workers, even those with lower incomes, be able to take advantage of the program? Put simply: Yes. Washington’s Family Leave Insurance program is universal, providing benefits for middle-class and low-income worker alike.

California’s Paid Family Leave program provides us with the best data for making estimates about Washington’s new program. Based on California’s experience we can project that in Washington:

• Parents of about 40% of newborns will take family leave insurance, once the program is widely known.
• People of all income levels will use the program – the majority from families of modest means.
• People working in all types of businesses will use the program – the majority in large companies.

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