Tips to Prepare for Upcoming Changes to Paid Family & Medical Leave

As a resource to help small businesses navigate the complex word of health insurance and employee benefits, Business Health Trust would like to remind you about important changes coming up with Washington state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits. To keep pace with more people using the program, and as required by law, the premium rate will increase in 2023, explains the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Starting Jan. 1, 2023:

  • The total premium rate will be 0.8%.
  • Employers will pay 27.24% of the total premium and employees will pay 72.76%.
  • Employers will continue to report each employee’s total gross wages, not including tips, and collect premiums up to the Social Security cap. Once an employee meets the Social Security cap, you must stop collecting premiums but continue to report their wages.
  • Businesses classified by the Employment Security Department as having fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium. However, they must still collect the employee premium or pay the employees’ premiums on their behalf.

Next steps for employers

  • Notify your employees that you will start collecting the new rate on Jan. 1, 2023.
  • On Jan. 1, 2023, start collecting the new premium rate from your employees each pay period. Remember, you cannot retroactively withhold premiums from employees.
  • First-quarter premiums and reports are due by the end of April 2023.

Why the premium rate is changing

Premiums, collected from employees and employers through quarterly reporting, fund the Paid Leave program. By law, the Employment Security Department recalculates the Paid Leave premium rate annually on Sept. 30. The premium rate is adjusted based on contributions from premiums and benefits paid during the previous year.

Important details:

  • You can choose to withhold the entire 72.76% from your employee’s paycheck, or you can cover all or some of the premium on your employee’s behalf.
  • If you are using a voluntary plan for family or medical leave, your calculations may be different. Visit for more.
  • Premium withholdings are capped at the Social Security cap, which is updated annually. It will be $160,200 in 2023.