Washington signs new paid family leave program into law

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington became the fifth state in the U.S. to establish a paid family and medical leave program for workers.

The new law was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee and was passed by the Legislature last week with strong bipartisan support and will be in place by 2020.

The law created the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, which will provide everyone in the workforce with up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave, and up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or an ailing family member. That leave is capped at 16 weeks if the employee needs both types of time off in a one-year period. Women who experience pregnancy complications may receive an additional two weeks of leave.

Depending on their earnings, employees will receive up to 90% of their wage or salary or up to $1,000 per week during their leave. Employees become eligible for the program after working 820 hours.