Washington workers can soon access paid family leave benefit

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Starting Thursday, employees in Washington state can start applying for time off under the state’s paid family leave law. Eligible workers receive 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for serious medical condition of the worker or the worker’s family member, 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 time does not need to be taken consecutively, but a minimum of eight hours at a time must be used if the benefit is claimed. For the past year, employees and employers have paid into the program that was approved by the Legislature in 2017. Premiums of 0.4 percent of workers’ wages fund the program, with 63 percent paid by employees and 37 percent paid by employers.