The Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave program became effec­tive for Washington employees as of the begin­ning of this year. This state run program is designed to provide paid leave for employees for instances such as the illness or injury of an employee or employee’s family member or parental bonding time with a new child.

Unlike sick leave, PTO or other accrued time off, Paid Family & Medical Leave is not an employer provided beneift. Paid Family & Medical Leave is provided by the state through the Employ­ment Security Depart­ment (ESD). There­fore, WSNA recom­mends that you address all questions about Paid Family & Medical Leave, including questions about your eligi­bility for the benefit, to the ESD instead of your employer. You can reach the ESD at:

Contact the Customer Care Team

Website: paidleave​.wa​.gov

Email: paidleave@esd.wa.gov

Phone: 833 – 717-CARE (2273)


Please note that the Paid Family & Medical Leave is a new program. The ESD has not yet staffed up to respond to the questions and claims they are receiving. As a result, they are currently experi­encing wait times of up to 10 weeks for claims. Despite this delay, the ESD remains the best source for accurate information.

In the meantime, the ESD’s online Benefit Guide is a quick and reliable source for infor­ma­tion. Please see the guide at: https://​paidleave​.wa​.gov/​b​e​n​e​fit-guide/