As of January 1, 2023, the premiums will increase for Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program. The premium rate will be 0.8 percent (up from 0.6 percent) of each employee’s gross wages (not including tips), up to a maximum of $160,200 (the 2023 Social Security cap). The split between employers and employees for paying these premiums has also changed. In 2023, employers with 50 or more employees must pay 27.24 percent (up from 26.78 percent) of the total premiums, while employees must pay 72.76 percent (down from 73.22 percent) of the total premiums. Employers with fewer than 50 employees still aren’t required to contribute toward this program but must withhold the employees’ share of the premiums and submit them to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
The maximum weekly benefit amount will also increase to $1,427 (up from $1,327). ESD establishes the PFML weekly benefit amount for each subsequent year by taking 90 percent of the state’s average weekly wage in the prior year. ESD announced the 2021 average weekly wage in June 2022 and used it to calculate the 2023 PFML weekly benefit amount. ESD hasn’t yet updated the PFML poster with the 2023 figure, but it eventually should be available for download from the PFML employer webpage entitled, your role and responsibilities.
Tips: Update your payroll system immediately to withhold at these higher premiums for work performed in 2023, 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, update your policy to take into account the 2023 maximum weekly benefit amount. You can find more information on PFML premiums and benefits on ESD’s PFML webpage for employers. Also see Vigilant’s Model Policy, Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Policy, and reach out to your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with any specific questions.