Who is eligible for paid family leave in Washington?

Maybe you just had a new baby. Congratulations! Maybe you're expecting a new child in a couple of months. Babies bring lots of new challenges and questions that don't always have anything to do with the baby herself. One of those questions is how do I keep paying the mortgage or rent?

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That's where paid family leave comes up clutch. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't eligible for this program. You just need to have worked at least 16 hours a week over the previous calendar year, whether it was at one workplace or several. As long as you've worked over 820 hours over the year, you're eligible!

Photo by Hollie Santos on Unsplash
Photo by Hollie Santos on Unsplash
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How much does paid family leave pay in Washington?

The one downside to paid family leave is that you don't make exactly what you were earning when you were still at work. Washington will pay up to 90% of your wages, which in 2022 maxes out to $1,327 a week. One thing to keep in mind is hours paid out by paid time off (PTO) at work won't count toward your total.

Photo by Rachel McDermott on Unsplash
Photo by Rachel McDermott on Unsplash
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When should you file for paid family leave in Washington?

There are a couple of steps you need to take before your baby arrives. Let your employer know ahead of time (30 days) that you're planning on taking paid leave. You can only apply after the birth of your child. You may wait a little bit before you hear back from the state.

Photo by Mikael Stenberg on Unsplash
Photo by Mikael Stenberg on Unsplash
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Once I've been approved, do I have to do anything else?

After you're in the system, you need to file weekly claims with the state so they can give you your benefits. Typically you'll get paid on the same day each week.

Will I keep my job when I go on leave?

In most cases, your job will be waiting for you when you get back. There are a couple of instances where it's not so certain. However, state, local and federal laws offer some protection.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
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How will I get paid?

It's recommended that you apply for FML online so that you can get paid via direct deposit. People that don't apply online will have to receive their payment on a pre-paid card.

How many weeks of paid family leave do I get?

Depending on your situation, you are allotted anywhere from 12 to 18 weeks of leave. Mothers can combine their family leave with medical leave as they recover from childbirth. Mothers who have a C-Section can qualify for up to 18 weeks of leave.

Photo by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash
Photo by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash
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Do I have to use my leave all at once?

FML is a blanketing program, meaning that it has more uses than just for parents who have just had a baby. You are not required to use all of your leave at once.

Do I need to go on leave as soon as my baby is born?

Mothers will obviously want to go on leave right away to bond with and care for their new baby. Depending on your financial situation, it may not be feasible for both parents to go on leave at the same time. Fortunately, you have a full year after your child is born to use your leave.

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