Legislature passes bipartisan paid family leave law.

Washington joins four other states in having adopted a paid family leave law. We previously noted the ongoing negotiations to reach a compromise agreement that would receive bipartisan support.  

The Washington Hospitality Association wrote June 30,

After many months of thoughtful, strategic planning by Democrats, Republicans, businesses and labor, Washington has proposed a balanced, bipartisan law to create statewide paid family and medical leave.

In early June, Association of Washington Business president Kris Johnson wrote of the discussions.

An issue as important as paid family leave is best addressed through a collaborative discussion that takes all sizes of business into consideration and meets the needs of employees and their families rather than a one-size-fits-all that would likely come through a ballot initiative.

We’ve reached out to our members, chambers and others for input over the past year to learn what type of paid leave policy would work for employers – small, large and everything in between. And, we will continue to take input as those negotiations, as well as budget and tax discussions, move forward.

The Seattle Times reports on legislative approval.

The Washington Legislature on Friday approved a paid family leave program that offers workers 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.

The measure passed the House on a 65-29 vote shortly after the Senate passed it on a 37-12 vote. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

The bill, which was a compromise reached between Republicans and Democrats after weeks of negotiation, offers eligible workers 12 weeks of either leave 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 article reports,

Currently, just four states guarantee paid family leave: California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York, though New York’s program doesn’t take effect until next year. The District of Columbia earlier this year also approved a paid family leave program, though it doesn’t take effect until July 2020.

Under the measure proposed in Washington state, both employers and employees pay into the system, and weekly benefits are calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s wages and the state’s weekly average wage — which is currently $1,082 — though the weekly amount paid out would be capped at $1,000 a week. Workers who earn less than the state average would get 90 percent of their income.

A family leave measure adopted by the 2007 Legislature was never implemented because no funding mechanism was established.