Paid Leave Under the Washington Family Care Act

Workers in Washington have access to a variety of paid leave in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Along with Washington's paid sick leave law, workers also may be able to use leave covered under the Washington Family Care Act.

Here's are some answers to common questions on the use of this type of leave.

Family Care Act

Washington's Family Care Act allows workers to use their choice of any paid leave they have earned while caring for qualifying family members with a serious health condition, or to care for a child with a serious health condition. The leave options include paid sick leave, vacation, paid time off, personal holidays, compensatory time (government employers only), and specific short-term disability plans. Under the act, however, leave cannot be used for an worker's personal medical condition.

Does the Family Care Act cover workers who are caring for a qualifying family member with coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Yes, the Washington Family Care Act allows employees to take any paid leave offered by their employer to:

  • Provide treatment or supervision for a child with a health condition.
  • Care for a qualifying family member with a serious or emergency health condition.

What family members can a worker take Family Care Act leave for?

Qualifying family members include children, spouses, grandparents, parents, and parents-in-law.

Under the Family Care Act, what types of paid leave can a worker draw from to care for qualifying family members with coronavirus?

The Family Care Act allows workers to choose the type of leave they use from any earned paid leave benefit, including:

  • Paid sick leave
  • Vacation
  • Paid time off
  • Personal holidays
  • Compensatory time (government employers only)
  • Certain specific short-term disability plans

Does the Family Care Act require employers to allow the use of paid sick leave for employees taking care of children who have been exposed to coronavirus?

Yes, workers can use leave under the Family Care Act to care for a child exposed to coronavirus who must be isolated from school or their place of care, even if the child does not have illness symptoms.