Paid Family & Medical Leave Increase

Gabriela Quintana, MSW
Senior Policy Associate
Economic Opportunity Institute

On January 1st, the total premium for Washington’s paid family and medical leave program will increase from .6 to .8 percent. This translates to an increase of $1 to $2.50 per week for most workers. Employees pay about 73% of the total premium.

The new rate is expected to fully fund benefits and administrative costs for this popular program in 2023. According to a recently completed actuarial study commissioned by the 2022 Legislature, 0.8% is about the right level to keep the program healthy for years to come. 

The 2022 legislature also created a PFML Legislative Task Force to recommend revisions to the PFML premium formula to ensure long-term stability and provide a road map for the program’s wellbeing. The task force recommendations will be presented in December. We will support the passage of legislation to strengthen the PFML program during the 2023 legislative session.

The paid family and medical leave program has surpassed expectations since it started in 2020. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have now been able to access the program to deal with a serious personal illness, care for a seriously ill loved one, or bond with a new baby. In 2022 alone, the paid family and medical leave program has paid out $870.7 million in benefits thus far, helping families and communities thrive.