Washington has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 5649), which, among other things, adds bereavement leave for child loss and clarifies conditions for postnatal leave. Senate Bill 5649 takes effect on June 9, 2022.
The state of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program generally provides employees with up to:
- 12 weeks of paid family leave in a year;
- 12 weeks of paid medical leave in a year; or
- A total of 16 weeks of combined family and medical leave.
Note: Medical leave can be extended by two weeks if an employee has a serious health condition with a pregnancy that incapacitates them.
Under the law, employees may use paid family leave during the seven days following the death of a child for whom the employee would have qualified for:
- Family leave to bond following the child’s birth or adoption placement; or
- Medical leave for their child’s birth.
The law clarifies the following for an employee’s postnatal period:
- The six weeks after a child’s birth is the postnatal period;
- Paid Family and Medical leave taken during the postnatal period will be designated as medical leave, unless the employee chooses to use their family leave; and
- An employee is not required to provide certification of a serious health condition for any paid leave taken during the postnatal period.
Washington employers should review their leave policies and procedures, and train supervisors to ensure compliance with Senate Bill 5649 by June 9, 2022.