Washington State has launched a new long-term care fund, and if you're an employer, you will need to start collecting and reporting premiums from your employees beginning July 1, 2023. Reporting begins on October 1, 2023, and will be paid through the same system as Paid Leave. Here is a brief overview of the fund and what your responsibilities as an employer are:
What is the WA Cares Fund?
The WA Care Funds is a new employee premium that provides qualified, eligible individuals up to $36,500 (adjusted annually up to inflation) worth of support and services over their lifetime. Support and services may include hiring a home care aide, paying a family member, making home modifications, or receiving care in a residential or nursing home.
How Much is the Premium?
The premium is 0.58% of wages, which means the Washington workers will pay up to $0.58 per $100 of earnings. It is funded by employee contributions so employers do not need to pay into the WA Cares Fund themselves.
What Are My Responsibilities as an Employer?
As an employer, you are required to collect and report premiums and track employee exemptions. Premiums will be collected the same way as Paid Leave and the reporting system will be updated to integrate both programs.
If an employee chooses to apply for an exemption, you will need to keep a copy of their approval letter from the Employment Security Department (ESD) on file and you will not deduct WA Cares premiums from their wages.
Am I Eligible if I am Self-Employed?
Self-employed individuals who qualify for Paid Family and Medical Leave are also eligible for the WA Cares Fund. Eligible individuals include:
Joint venturers and members of a partnership
Members of LLCs
If you are eligible and would like to sign up, you can apply through your SAW account.
Disclaimer: This post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult with your accountant or bookkeeper for more information based on your specific situation. For more information, please read through the following resources: