Washington Family Leave
Washington State Family Leave Act
The Washington State Family Medical Leave Act (Washington FMLA) is one of two maternity related regulations that provide job protection benefits for certain workers taking leave for specified circumstances. The other law is a federal regulation: Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Washington FMLA and Pregnancy Disability
Pregnant women experiencing complications, or other medical issues find additional leave time under Washington FMLA which extends job protection benefits for women based upon employer characteristics:
Washington Paid Family Leave Insurance
Washington State does not provide directly for paid family leave insurance. The state legislature passed the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in 2007, but has delayed funding the program until 2013 at the earliest. In the interim there are several ways to indirectly receive paid leave benefits through state regulations, and use of private coverage.
The Washington State Family Care Act allows workers to use accumulated sick days and other paid time off benefits while caring for sick child with a routine illness. If your child is born prematurely, or requires specialized care for a medical condition, it is possible that you could use these paid time benefits to make your family leave more affordable.
Washington State also has taken advantage of Unemployment Modernization Incentives from the federal government that allows workers to utilize unemployment benefits for a good cause. The illness or disability of a family member is considered a good cause.
Both of these paid leave options may work when mom is taking care of her infant. But what about the time she misses work for her own disability? Short term disability insurance is the best way to address this paid leave requirement. Hospital indemnity insurance pays additional benefits directly to the insured when an infant(s) required specialized care in the hospital after birth. Purchase your policies before getting pregnant.
Washington State vs Federal FMLA
Both the Washington State and Federal FMLA have identical qualifying criteria: number of hours worked, notice requirements, and employer size criteria. Both regulations provide for 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave. So what are the differences? There are three things that differ between the state and federal regulations: