By Rik Jamieson

Starting in 2020, Washington will be the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave benefits to workers. Because of this, beginning January 1st every employer in Washington will be required to report to the Employment Security Department (ESD) wages and hours worked for each employee. Details of how and when to report are still being finalized. There will be a premium cost of 0.4% of gross wages paid which is shared by the employee and the employer unless the employer chooses to pay the entire amount. 

Most likely your church will be exempt from the employer portion of the premium due to less than 50 employees. But, you will still need to address the employee portion.

Please pass this notice on to the staff that process your payroll.

Stay tuned as we’re learning as fast as the state will teach the nuances about reporting the wages and hours worked and how to pay the premium. Below is a summary of what to do next.

  1. Download the Employers Toolkit from the Conference website.  Use this link to get to that page.  Scroll to the bottom of the website page. There is a very good summary of the law and your requirements.
  2. Remember that clergy are including in your church reporting and that housing allowances paid are considered wages for purposes of reporting under this law.
  3. DECIDEbefore your first January 2019 payroll whether your church will pay the employee portion of the premium or if you will withhold that amount via paychecks. To estimate the annual cost of the employee premium multiply .00252 times the gross wages (and housing allowances) paid in a year.
  4. Before April 2019 your church will need to create an on-line account with the Employment Security Department (ESD) at:  By April 30 you will be required to report the following data to the state:
  1. Social Security Number
  2. Last Name
  3. First Name
  4. Middle Initial
  5. Hours worked in the reporting quarter
  6. Wages paid in the reporting quarter

Rik Jamieson serves as Assistant Treasurer for The Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church.

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