Laws About Caring for Family

Laws About Leave to Care for Family Members

Washington State laws managed by L&I

The Washington State Family Care Act (2002) will inform you about using paid leave to care for family members.

The Washington State Family Leave Act (2006) will inform you about additional leave for pregnant women and registered domestic partners.

Washington State Human Rights Commission rules on pregnancy or childbirth disability

If a woman works for a business with 8 or more workers, she is allowed pregnancy or childbirth disability leave and is entitled to return to work when released by her health care provider. The disability leave is based on her individual condition and may include all the time her health care provider determines she is unable to work. See WAC 162-30-020 (

For questions about disability due to pregnancy or childbirth, see the Washington State Human Rights Commission ( or call 1-800-233-3247.

U.S. government (federal) law

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) ( permits workers who work for an employer with 50 or more employees and have worked at least 12 months for the business for a total of at least 1,250 hours to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to

  • care for a newborn, newly adopted, or foster child;
  • recover from the employee's own serious illness; or
  • care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.

For questions about the federal FMLA, call the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-866-487-9243 or see the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 fact sheet (81.3 KB PDF) (

For more information:

Get a list of workplace posters required and recommended by not only L&I but other state of Washington or federal agencies as well.

For questions about any of Washington's leave laws, contact the Employment Standards program at your local L&I office or the central office in Tumwater at 360-902-5316.

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