The current trend at both the state and federal levels is moving in the direction of mandatory paid family leave. For example, in recent years, 6 states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have enacted mandatory paid family leave benefits for employees. Moreover, at least 18 other states are currently considering some form of paid family leave legislation.
Washington state has enacted a paid family leave program that will go into effect in 2020. Through this enactment, Washington has joined just four other states and the District of Columbia in requiring paid leave benefits for eligible employees. Under this new law, the state insurance program will provide private-sector employees up to 12 weeks of income for leave related to childbirth, a child’s adoption, a relative’s illness, or an employee’s own health condition. An employee’s maximum combined family and medical leave will be 16 weeks a year, with an additional two weeks in cases involving pregnancy complications. The new law also requires employers to hold the employee’s job open, regardless the size of the business, until he or she returns from leave. The employer may, however, hire a temporary worker to substitute for the employee on family or medical leave.