Six States Now Family-Friendlier, Washington the Best Yet


This summer of 2017, Washington joined five other states with a family-friendly family-leave policy, reports IWPR (Institute for Women’s Policy Research). Its key features improve on the leave policy of five states already on the books: California (2004), New Jersey (2009), Rhode Island (2014), New York (2018), and District of Columbia (2020).
What additions are promising? Washington State did not have a TDI(Temporary Disability Insurance) program, the vehicle other states have used, so they created a new trust fund and a new administration to collect insurance premiums and distribute benefits. AND the premiums are shared by employees (63 percent) and by employers (37 percent). Doesn’t everyone benefit from a healthier future?
Second, eligibility for leave is based on hours worked, not on money earned, which enables low-income and part-time workers to participate. Employees who average at least 15 hours/week are eligible, as are self-employed workers if they choose to opt in for at least three years.
Washington’s law allows for 12 weeks of paid family leave, and 12 weeks of medical leave, with total benefits capped at 16 weeks (or 18 weeks for women with pregnancy-related complications. That’s more generous than other states with only 4-6 weeks of family leave. Their new Family Leave Administration also provides more stringent job protections, and supports for small businesses, where so many women are often employed. Small businesses with fewer than 150 employees are not required to pay premiums, but if a business chooses to opt in, they may apply for a grant to help with associated costs, backed by the new insurance trust fund.
Read about the details of Washington’s new law at IWPR’s Fem-Chat, with links that might help you to do what’s needed in your state, here: