With governor’s signature, Washington becomes 5th state with paid family leave law; major business groups applaud measure

Governor Jay Inslee yesterday signed the bipartisan paid family leave legislation passed last week. The Associated Press reports,

The measure offers eligible workers 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious medical condition of the worker or the worker’s family member beginning in 2020, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. An additional two weeks may be used if there is a serious health condition with a pregnancy.

The Association of Washington Business endorsed the compromise measure. In the group’s “Fast Facts” newsletter, AWB writes,

AWB and other business groups were actively involved in negotiating the bill over the legislative session, believing that a bipartisan solution in the Legislature would be better for employers than a statewide initiative that was written without input from the employer community.

“Washington employers recognize the importance of taking time off work with pay during critical times, in fact many already provide a paid family leave benefit,” said Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business. “The statewide policy ensures that all employees will be able to care for their families when they need to, and it does it in a way that’s workable for employers, particularly small businesses.”

Chambers of commerce across the state voiced support for the final bill, saying it provides an important, uniform worker benefit while also considering the impact to small employers.

The Northwest News Network writes,

Washington becomes the fifth state to adopt a paid family and medical leave program after California, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Earlier this year, the District of Columbia also adopted a paid leave program.

The Spokesman-Review reports on how local Spokane businesses are evaluating the measure.