The Washington Family Care Act (FCA) 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.

Leave under the FCA is not available for an employee’s personal medical condition. It can only be used for a qualifying family member.

When requesting FCA leave, all employer policies and collective bargaining agreements must be followed. However, employers cannot prescribe the type of leave an employee chooses under this Act.

The FCA allows employees to choose the type of leave from any earned, paid leave benefit including:

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

Note: Short-term disability plans covered under Employee Retirement Income Security Act or established or maintained through the purchase of insurance are excluded.

If you feel like your employer has violated your rights under the Family Care Act, you can file a protected leave complaint.

See Chapter 46.12.265 RCW for full details.

Comparison of Paid Sick Leave and Washington Family Care Act

Paid Sick Leave Family Care Act
Provides one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Allows employees their choice of earned paid leaves to care for qualifying family members.
Paid Sick Leave can be used for the following situations:
  • For a worker’s health condition.
  • Health condition of a family member.
  • When the workplace is closed for health reasons.
  • When a child’s place of care is closed by a public health official.
  • A Domestic Violence Leave absence.
The FCA can be used for the following situations:
  • Family member with a serious health condition.
  • Child with a health condition requiring treatment or supervision including preventative health care.
  • Wife or daughter who is disabled because of pregnancy or childbirth.
Qualifying Family Members:
  • Child (biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, etc.), regardless of age or dependency status.
  • Parents.
  • Spouse.
  • Registered domestic partner.
  • Grandparent.
  • Grandchild.
  • Sibling.
Qualifying Family Members:
  • Child under 18 (biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, etc.) or adult child incapable of self-care.
  • Parents.
  • Spouse.
  • Registered domestic partner.
  • Parents-in law.
  • Grandparents.