Washington Employers Receive Guidance on WPFML from the State
Employers have been attempting to implement the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (WPFMLA) with little guidance from the Employment Security Department. In the latest legislative session, some clarifications have now been added as administrative rules (WAC 192). The adopted clarifications address successor employers, “hours worked” for purposes of job restoration, appeals, and small business assistance grants. A new rule (WAC 192-610-090) now clarifies that an employee is not eligible for WPFMLA if they are absent from work due to injury/illness sustained while perpetrating an illegal act (a felony or gross misdemeanor). Unfortunately, most of the focus has been on how to collect premiums or what amount of paid leave an employee is entitled to claim. Many of the questions that employers have raised about the practical aspects of handling the leave remain unanswered. Employers should continue to voice their concerns to the Employment Security Department, as this could help the agency recognize the need for further rulemaking and guidance.