SECOND SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1073
State of Washington
2021 Regular Session
ByHouse Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Berry, Wicks, Fitzgibbon, Bateman, Tharinger, Simmons, Kloba, Ramel, Ortiz-Self, Goodman, Ryu, Bronoske, Hackney, Chopp, Riccelli, Stonier, Frame, Macri, Davis, Pollet, Bergquist, and Harris-Talley)
READ FIRST TIME 02/22/21.
AN ACT Relating to expanding coverage of the paid family and medical leave program; amending RCW 50A.15.010
; adding a new section to chapter 50A.15
RCW; creating new sections; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds that many workers who have paid into the paid family and medical leave insurance program have suffered job losses, reductions in hours, or an inability to reenter the workforce due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These workers are unable to access their family and medical leave benefits under the existing hours worked threshold through no fault of their own.
(2) The legislature intends to temporarily adjust the qualifying periods for these adversely impacted workers to restore access to family and medical leave benefits.
(3) In the temporary adjustment of the qualifying period for these workers, the legislature intends to prevent impacts to the family and medical leave insurance account through the provision of separate funding. In so doing, the legislature intends to avoid any premium rate increases or the application of a solvency surcharge.
and 2019 c 13 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
((Employees))Except as provided in section 3 of this act, employees are eligible for family and medical leave benefits as provided in this title after working for at least eight hundred twenty hours in employment during the qualifying period.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3.
A new section is added to chapter 50A.15
RCW to read as follows:
(1) For claims with an effective start date of January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, employees that do not meet the hours worked threshold for eligibility under RCW 50A.15.010
(1) in calendar year 2020 or the first calendar quarter of 2021 are eligible for family and medical leave benefits as provided under subsection (2) of this section.
(2) An employee seeking eligibility under this section may use one of the following alternate qualifying periods:
(a) Eight hundred twenty hours worked in employment during the first through fourth calendar quarters of 2019;
(b) If the employee does not meet the hours worked threshold under (a) of this subsection, 820 hours worked in employment during the second through fourth calendar quarters of 2019 and first calendar quarter of 2020; or
(c) If the employee does not meet the hours worked threshold under (a) or (b) of this subsection, 520 hours worked in the first calendar quarter of 2020.
(3)(a) Subsections (1) and (2) of this section do not apply to an employee who does not meet the hours worked threshold for eligibility under RCW 50A.15.010
(1) because of an employment separation due to misconduct or a voluntary separation unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(b) An employee seeking eligibility under this section must attest, in a manner prescribed by the department, that their failure to meet the hours worked threshold for eligibility under RCW 50A.15.010
(1) is not due to the reasons specified in (a) of this subsection.
(4) For purposes of determining their weekly benefit amount under RCW 50A.15.020
(4), the average weekly wage of an employee qualifying for benefits under subsection (2)(c) of this section is the quotient derived by dividing the employee's total wages during the first calendar quarter of 2020 by 13. If the result is not a multiple of $1, the department must round to the next lower multiple of $1.
and 2019 c 13 s 57 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) ((To))Except as provided in section 3 of this act, to be eligible for any family and medical leave, an employee must be in employment for eight hundred twenty hours during the qualifying period, by an employer with a voluntary plan or an employer utilizing the state family and medical leave plan. An employee qualifies for benefits under an employer's voluntary plan after the employee works at least three hundred forty hours for the current employer.
(2) An employer with an approved voluntary plan may waive the requirements in subsection (1) of this section, in whole or in part, to allow an employee to be immediately eligible for coverage under the employer's voluntary plan.
(3) An employee who had coverage under the state plan retains coverage under the state plan until such time as the employee is qualified for coverage under the new employer's voluntary plan.
(4) An employee who was eligible for benefits under a voluntary plan is immediately eligible for benefits under a new employer's voluntary plan.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. The employment security department may adopt rules to implement this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. If specific funding for the purposes of this act, referencing this act by bill or chapter number, is not provided by June 30, 2021, in the omnibus appropriations act, this act is null and void.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.
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