At the beginning of this year, Washington state implemented the first stage of the Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) program. As of January 1st, 2019, employers are required to withhold PFML premiums from employee’s paychecks and remit these premiums to the Employment Security Department on a quarterly basis. The premiums are .4% of wages; note that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are not required to submit the employer portion of the premiums (unless they desire to qualify for small business assistance grants).
In the event an employee needs to take time off and uses their PFML, employers who voluntarily pay the employer premium will be eligible to apply for grants that can help cover the costs incurred when an employee take leave. You can read more about the small business assistance grants here.
However – at this time, the PFML reporting site is not set up to calculate and receive the optional employer-paid premiums from small businesses. Further, when the site is working, the state will be receiving employer premiums from that point forward and NOT from previous quarters already reported.
If you were expecting to remit the optional employer-paid premiums for your 1st and 2nd quarter wages, it would be a good idea to check with your payroll processor or accountant to verify what was remitted for those reports. Also, you can call the Paid Family & Medical Leave customer care line at 833-717-2273 for more information.