PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
[Filed August 5, 2020, 10:52 a.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: The paid family and medical leave (PFML) program (Title 50A
RCW) requires updating existing rules and promulgating new rules to ensure clarity and make necessary changes based on programmatic needs. This preproposal statement of inquiry includes, but is not limited to, adding definitions of "illegal acts" and "successor," updating the definition of "health care provider," clarifying references to "hours worked," for the purposes of job protection and program consistency, clarification regarding small business grants, and adding information regarding closed hearings and appeal withdrawals.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 50A.05.060
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The department recognizes the need for clear and usable guidance for ongoing programmatic operations. These rules will contribute to that guidance.
Defining "illegal acts" will provide clarification regarding benefit disqualification under RCW 50A.15.060
Defining "successor" will clarify requirements regarding an employee's entitlement to job protection to include hours worked for a predecessor.
Rules referring to "hours worked" will be revised for consistency purposes regarding weekly benefits, claim determinations, and job protection requirements. In addition, the requirements for weekly benefits and claim determinations will be clarified.
The three-year time period will be clarified for premium liability for a small business receiving a grant.
Rules will be updated to allow the department to withdraw an appeal when a redetermination has been made in the appellant's favor. In addition, rules will be updated to add a requirement that hearings be closed to the public in order to streamline the hearings process. Currently, a separate request must be made to close each individual hearing.
Additional clarifying updates may be considered as needed.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: No federal agencies and no other state agencies regulate the PFML program as authority is granted solely to the employment security department.
Process for Developing New Rule: The draft rules will be shared with the public, stakeholders, and the program's advisory committee. The department will solicit input from all involved parties and consider all comments in the development of the final rules.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting April Amundson, 640 Woodland Square Loop S.E., Lacey, WA 68503 , phone 360-485-2816, TTY Teresa Eckstein, State EO Officer, 771 or 360-902-9354, email Rules@esd.wa.gov.
August 5, 2020
Policy and Rules Manager
for Paid Family and Medical Leave