FMLA in Washington can be confusing due to the existence of the Washington Family Care Act (WFCA) and the Washington Family Leave Act (WFLA). As with any state legislative law that deals with elements of federal FMLA, as long as an employer applies the requirements of each law independently and completely, there shouldn’t be any confusion. If confusion does occur and legal advice is not available, the most prudent course of action is to utilize the law giving the greatest benefit to the employee.

WFCA only allows for the use of paid leave, such as sick Leave, PTO, vacation, holiday, and some short-term disability plans, in order to care for family members with a serious health condition. Unlike FMLA in Washington, the list of qualified care recipients also includes; a registered domestic partner, parent-in-law, or grandparent. WFLA provides unpaid leave benefits for women who are pregnant, leave for a registered domestic partner, or Family Leave that remains after FMLA has been exhausted for an exigent deployment reason or as a military caregiver. Employee eligibility qualifications are identical to FMLA, but in the case of a pregnancy the 12 weeks of WFLA is in addition to any pregnancy disability leave.

FMLA in Washington has been affected by the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act’s definition of marriage and gave individual states the right to make that determination. Washington has recognized same-sex marriage since 2012, so effective immediately, any couple married and living in Washington must be treated the same way with regard to the application of FMLA qualifications and benefits. Washington, as any other state, requires federal compliance and failure to comply has recently resulted in some large dollar judgments against careless employers. The best defense to an FMLA lawsuit is a consistent, cost-effective, and well-documented leave administration system. Many employers of all sizes, administering over a million employees have found tremendous success utilizing Qcera’s web-based, LeaveSource™ absence management software. FMLA in Washington doesn’t have to be a four letter word.

Compliance solutions for FMLA in Washington are just a click way. Visit the LeaveSource™ website at or click on the red button above in order to request a demonstration. Seamless compliance is applied by the system for FMLA, WFCA, WFLA, and even individual, company-specific leave policies.