As of January 1, 2022, both the premiums and maximum weekly benefits have increased for Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program. The premium rate has increased to 0.6% of each employee’s gross wages (not including tips), up to a maximum of $147,000 (which is the 2022 Social Security cap). The split between employers and employees for paying these premiums has also changed. Employers with 50 or more employees now pay 26.78% of the total premiums, while the employee pays 73.22%. Employers with fewer than 50 employees still aren’t required to pay any premiums for this program but must withhold the employee’s share of the premiums and submit those premiums to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
The maximum weekly benefit amount available to an employee on PFML has also increased as of January 1, 2022, from $1,206 to $1,327. Each September, ESD is required to adjust the maximum weekly benefit amount for the following calendar year to 90 percent of the state’s average weekly wage. These changes are reflected in the 2022 PFML poster that employers must display in their workplaces.
Tips: Update your payroll system immediately to withhold at these higher premiums because the PFML rules don’t allow employers to collect missed premiums retroactively. Employers are responsible for paying any missed premiums. Also, if you‘re using estimated PFML weekly benefits to determine a supplemental benefits payment to an employee on leave, now is the time to revise your estimate for 2022 in light of the increase. You can find more information on PFML premiums and benefits on ESD’s PFML webpage for employers. For other information about the PFML program, see Vigilant’s Model Policy, Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Policy, or reach out to your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.