High volume of applicants delays Washington’s new paid family leave program

If you’re hoping to take advantage of the new Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Washington, you may need to wait a little longer than you anticipated.

Within the first three weeks of launching the program, the Washington Employment Security Department already received more than 22,000 applications. That’s how much they were expecting within the first three months.

The program not only focuses on paid family leave, but also paid medical leave for those who may have some sort of family emergency. Under the new law, those who are eligible can get up to 16 weeks paid time off.

RELATED: Washington launches new ‘Paid Family and Medical Leave’ program

The Employment Security Department was originally hoping to get all applications finished within two weeks. After receiving 22,000 applications, they say it could take a month or more.

“We totally understand and are completely empathetic with those individuals who are in need. We are trying to work through them as quickly as we can,” said Suzi LeVine, Commissioner with the Employment Security Department.

While you may have to wait longer than you were hoping for your payout, there is some good news. Applicants will get payments back to when their leave started, not from when their application is processed.

As of right now, more than 3,000 people have already started receiving their benefits.

The Employment Security Department also wants you to make sure you’re going through their application checklist. This can help speed up the process and is also a way to make sure that nothing is missing from your application.