Washington State Adopts Paid Family Leave Provision

May 11, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Washington Governor Christine Gregoire has given her approval to a paid family leave program, making the state the second after California to offer such benefits, the Associated Press reported.

The measure will allow workers paid family leave with benefits of up to $250 per week for five weeks for the birth or adoption of a child and also requires that employers with 25 or more employees hold workers’ jobs open while they are on leave, after they’ve been employed for a certain amount of time.

The bill originally would have allowed workers paid time off to take care of a sick relative and would have imposed a $.02-an-hour tax on employees’ pay to cover the benefits, but that provision was eventually removed.

The program requires that state leave be taken at the same time employees take federal leave, according to the AP.  

The program will be put in place starting in 2009, but lawmakers still do not know how they will fund it. Legislators also authorized a loan of at least $18 million to set up the program over the next two years.