Invoice increasing entry to Paid Household and Medical Go away wins ultimate passage

A bill to extend Paid Family and Sick Leave (PFML) to employees who have lost cover due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be sent to Governor Inslee’s desk after receiving final approval from the House of Representatives on Tuesday. In a vote between 56 and 42, the House approved the amendments introduced in the Senate – the final hurdle it has to clear before it is finally passed.

While Washington started a new PFML program just months before the pandemic broke out, it was eligible contingent on job requirements that many were unable to meet after their release.

To be eligible for benefits under the program, employees must work at least 820 hours over a period of one year. The program allows eligible employees to take paid time off to care for a sick family member or newborn baby.

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The bill’s main sponsor, Vice Chair of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, Rep. Liz Berry (D – Seattle) said the bill will expand access to previously ineligible workers by allowing them to take their 2019 work hours in place of theirs 2020 hours to use.

As a mother of two young children, I understand the importance of this program to working families in our state, ”said Berry. “Paid family and sick leave have improved the health and economic stability of working families across Washington. However, there are an estimated 42,000 workers who were excluded from this program through no fault of their own. This bill ensures that those Washingtoners who have dutifully paid into the PFML system will have access to these benefits. “

While it was still in the Senate, the Ways & Means Committee amended the bill to shorten the length of time an employee might be eligible for a pandemic leave aid employee grant. Due to the change in the striker introduced by the committee, the alternative qualification period of 520 hours was also canceled. provides that certain employers with 150 or fewer employees are entitled to a grant to cover the costs of workers on leave; and adds an emergency clause that allows the bill to take effect immediately.

The subsidy for companies with fewer than 150 employees is intended to enable them to hire a temporary worker who is used for workers on leave.

A one-time general allocation of federal incentive dollars will be the main funding mechanism for the bill. The operating budgets negotiated in both chambers currently contain US $ 200 million for this purpose.

Rep. Jenny Graham (R – Spokane) dropped out of her caucus to support the bill, while Reps. Mike Chapman (D – Port Angeles) and Amy Walen (D – Kirkland) voted against.

For Berry, the calculation is a normal response to an abnormal situation.

“It’s easy, once you’ve paid into the PFML program, you shouldn’t lose cover as a result of the pandemic,” she said.

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