In 2019, Washington laws are changing to create an improved employee benefits system. Not only is the state minimum wage increasing from $11.50 to $12 per hour, but also a paid family and medical leave program has been approved to launch in 2020. As always, employers are responsible for ensuring that they comply with all new business laws. Let’s take a look at what your business can do to make sure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible.
What is Washington’s Paid Family Leave Law?
Washington passed a new paid leave law last summer which is slated to go into effect in 2020. Payments to fund the program, however, began on January 1st. Employers are now required to collect premiums from their employees and pay premiums themselves. According to the Vancouver Business Journal, workers will pay an estimated 63 percent of the program’s cost, while employers will pay 37 percent. For example, an employee with an annual salary of $50,000 will pay about $2.50 per week and their employer will pay about $1.50.
The law allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and 12 weeks of paid medical leave, capped at a total of 16 weeks of combined leave, with an extra 2 weeks available for women who experience pregnancy complications. Family leave covers the birth or adoption of a child or a family member experiencing an illness, while medical leave covers a medical event for the employee themselves. To be eligible, an employee must have worked at least 820 hours in the first four of the last five calendar quarters. Businesses with under 50 employees will not need to pay into the program unless they want to use small business assistance grants.
Employers will need to make the required payroll changes to ensure that all premiums are paid each month. They would also be wise to take some time in the next year to update employee policies and to educate staff on Washington’s new paid leave system. With a little planning, employers can ensure that their employees are educated on their rights and responsibilities under the new system.
Business Law Services in Vancouver
When it comes to ensuring that your business is in compliance with changing state and federal business laws, an experienced attorney is invaluable. John L. Davis Attorney at Law is committed to providing you with all the facts you need to make the best decision possible for your business. John is equally experienced in business and business law, so he understands the demands placed on business owners and their responsibilities to their employees. If you are in need of business law attorney services, call (360) 558-3467 today to set up an initial consultation.