University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

State of Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

(Approved by the President by delegation of authority Executive Order No. 4 and Executive Order No. 9)

1.  Purpose

The state of Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program (Title 50A RCW) is a mandatory statewide insurance program that provides paid family and medical leave to eligible employees. The program is administered by the Employment Security Department (ESD). Washington's PFML program does not replace the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

2.  Scope

All University employees whose work is performed in the state of Washington participate in the PFML program.

3.  Eligibility

To be eligible for PFML benefits, an employee must meet eligibility criteria and experience a qualifying event, as determined by ESD.

4.  Employee Responsibilities

  A. Notice for Requesting Leave

Consistent with RCW 50A.15.030, the University requires employees to provide, for a foreseeable event, at least a 30-day notice before the leave begins. If the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as practical. Employees are required to inform the University as soon as practical if dates of the leave change, are extended, or were initially unknown. Notice must include the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.

  B. Use of Time Off During PFML Covered Leave

Employees are not required to take accrued time off before, in place of, or at the same time as PFML benefits.

5.  Benefits

University employees who qualify for PFML are entitled to:

  • Up to 18 weeks of paid family and/or medical leave for qualifying events, as described in Chapter 50A.15 RCW;

  • The continuation of University paid health insurance benefits during PFML leave when eligibility criteria are met under both the PFML program and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, as described in WAC 192-700-020. Employees remain responsible for any optional insurance coverage, other payroll deductions, and insurance copayments.

  • Employment restoration after PFML leave ends, provided the employee has been employed by the University for 12 months or more and has worked for the University for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding the date on which the leave will commence, as described in RCW 50A.35.010.

  • Protection from the University interfering with, restraining, denying, or otherwise restricting an employee's exercise of, or attempts to exercise, the rights provided by the PFML as described in RCW 50A.40.010. The University may not use an employee's use of PFML leave as a factor in evaluating job performance or attendance, or as a basis for corrective action.

6.  Supplemental Benefits

Consistent with RCW 50A.15.060, the University allows employees the option of using approved time off as supplemental benefit payments at the same time they are receiving PFML benefits. Supplemental benefit payments are not considered wages under RCW 50A.05.010 and are not reported to ESD as paid wages for the purposes of determining the PFML benefit amount.

Unless the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, the Professional Staff Program, Faculty Code and Governance, Librarian leave policies, or civil service rules applicable to the employee state otherwise, the following time offs may be used as supplemental benefits:

  • Compensatory time off
  • Discretionary time off
  • Holiday credit time off
  • Holiday taken time off
  • Northwest Hospital carryover time off
  • Personal holiday time off
  • Shore leave time off
  • Sick time off
  • UW Neighborhood clinics carryover time off
  • Vacation time off

7.  Program Funding

The PFML program is funded through premiums paid by both the employee and the University, as described on the University's Paid Family and Medical Leave webpage. The total premium rate is set under RCW 50A.10.030 and is split as follows unless a collective bargaining agreement states otherwise:

  A. Employee's Premium Contribution

The employee’s portion of the 0.6% premium is:
  • 100% of the premiums due for family leave portion
  • 45% of the premiums due for the medical leave portion
This is an approximate employee responsibility of 73.22% of the total premium.

  B. Employer's Premium Contribution

The UW is responsible for 55% of the premiums due for the medical leave portion, resulting in a total UW responsibility of approximately 26.78% of the total premiums for all employees contributing to this benefit.

8.  Responsible State Agency and University Resources

Responsible State Agency

Washington's Paid Family and Medical Leave program is administered by the Employment Security Department. Program information is published at

University Resources

For more information on the University's PFML program:

9.  History

July 21, 2021; December 21, 2021.