WA Cares Fund | Information for Employers
Washington state is launching 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 next year. 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?
The application to opt-in to the WA Cares Fund for self-employed individuals will be available in January 2022.
Here is the current timeline for the roll-out. As an employer, you should share this information with your employees.
October 1, 2021 - December 31, 2022: Window to apply for coverage exemption
October 31, 2021: Deadline for obtaining private insurance to qualify for a lifelong exemption
January 1, 2022: Premiums begin for employees and self-employed can opt into coverage
January 1, 2025: Benefits become available to qualified, eligible individuals
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:
Learn more by visiting the WA Cares Fund website: https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/
Informational flyer to hand out to employees: https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/WACaresFundGeneralFlyer_070621_FINAL.pdf
September mailer to employers: https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/WA-Cares-Employer-Mailer-September-2021.pdf