Washington’s workers will have paid family and medical leave beginning in 2020 thanks to legislation signed into law Wednesday. (TRT: :75) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


On Wednesday afternoon, the historic bill creating the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program was signed into law. Sen. Karen Keiser of Des Moines has worked to make this day a reality for more than a decade.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, TRT: (:21) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “All of the working families in Washington state will have economic security. When they have a new baby, or if they have a life event with a terrible accident, or with a spouse with a stroke, or any kind of health crisis that can come to anybody at any time. It is a wonderful day. It makes me cry!”

Beginning in 2020, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program will provide those who have worked at least 820 hours in the State of Washington up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a child or ailing family member, and up to 12 weeks for personal illnesses.  During their leave, workers may be granted up to 90 percent of their pay or up to $1,000 dollars per week. This new program is funded by employer and employee contributions, with the option of small businesses with less than 50 employees to opt out.

Washington state is the fifth state in the United States to adopt paid family and medical leave insurance programs and serves as a model for other states to follow.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.