Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave

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Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave


Beginning in 2020, the state of Washington will begin to offer a statewide paid family and medical leave benefits to workers.  This program will be funded both from employees and employers. Premium assessments begin January 1, 2019 and benefits can start January 1, 2020.  Most employers are required to participate in this insurance program. Employers can choose to use an employer-operated voluntary plan or the state plan.  Patriot will collect and remit this tax for Full Service Payroll customers.

For more information, see Washington State Employment Security Department’s website Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Setting Up Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Taxes in Patriot Software

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Employers must collect and remit premiums starting in 2019.
  • You have the choice of using the state insurance plan, or a voluntary plan that offers the same or greater leave benefits as the state plan.
  • The total premium for the state plan for 2019 is 0.4%, shared by the employer (36.67%) and employee (63.33%).
  • An employer can elect to pay the employee’s share of the premium.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees working in Washington are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium.
  • Premiums must be remitted quarterly during the month following each completed calendar quarter.
  • Premium withholdings are capped at the Social Security cap, $132,900 in 2019.
  • Tips are not included in gross wages.

As an example, an employee’s gross wages are $1000.
The total premium would be 0.4%, which is $4.00
The employer’s 36.67% share would be $1.47 (36.67% of $4).
The employee’s 63.33% share would be $2.53 (63.33% of $4).

As a new Patriot customer, you will need to answer a few questions in the payroll wizard.  Existing customers can find these questions under Settings > Payroll Settings > WA Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Do you have fewer than 50 employees working in Washington?  If you have fewer than 50 employees, employers are not required to contribute the employer portion of the premium, but may opt-in to become eligible for Small Business Assistance.  You will still be required to collect and remit the employee’s share of premiums and meet reporting requirements. If you have 50 or more employees, you are required to contribute both the employer and employee share share of the premium.

Do you want to pay a portion of your employees’ premium?

The employer can choose to pay more than their 36.67% share by paying some or all of the employee’s 63.33% contribution.  You can change the employer contribution percent up to 100%, as long as the employer + employee = 100% of the 0.4% of wages.

As a recap, here are your options depending on your company size for the state insurance plan.

Company Size Employer Share Employee Share
If Less Than 50 Employees in Washington Not required to pay employer share of 36.67%, but can opt-in and get small business assistance Required to withhold and collect employee share of 63.33%
If 50+ Employees in Washington Required to pay employer share of 36.67%, can choose to pay more than this to cover employee share Required to withhold and collect employee share of 63.33%

Quarterly Reporting

You will need to report your employees’ hours, wages, and premium collected for the quarter directly to the state.  For details, see the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Reporting page.

You can find this information on your Payroll Details Report.

  • Go to Reports > Payroll Reports > Payroll Details Report.
  • Change the Start Date and End Date to the appropriate quarter start and end dates that you are reporting.
  • Make sure all employees are selected.
  • Make sure all sources are selected.
  • Change the “Group By” to Employee, and click “Run Report.”

The report will show a summary of total hours and gross pay for each employee for the quarter.

You will also need to enter the total amount of employee premium you have collected from all employees.  Change the “Group By” filter to Totals, and click “Run Report” again.  The “Washington Paid Family Leave (FLI) – Employee” total will appear under the “Employee Taxes” section.  The state will use this to calculate and bill you for your employer share, if any.

If you are a larger employer and want to upload a file instead of manually entering, you can click “Download Spreadsheet” after you run the report to download a .csv file.  From here, you can change the columns as needed.

Marking exempt from Washington Family Leave Insurance

Company Exemption

If you are using the state insurance plan, nearly all employers are required to participate, and are not exempt from Washington FLI.  Exceptions are listed on the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave website.  You can mark your business exempt from the state plan under the Company Tax Exemptions page in the wizard.  If you have completed the wizard, you will not be able to mark your company exempt, but you can change the answer to the questions at Settings > Tax Exemptions > State Exemptions > Washington > Employer FLI.  

Individual Employee Exemption

If an employee works primarily in Washington, even if they sometimes travel out of state, they are covered by Washington FLI.  An employee is not required to be covered if they are working in Washington for short period of time. To mark an employee exempt, go to Payroll > Employee List > Select Employee Name > Advanced Tax Settings > Add FLI Exemption Status and change to “Exempt.” This will prevent the employee and corresponding employer share of tax from calculating for this particular employee.

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