Human Resources
Mitchell 1st Floor, MS: 7425
Phone: (509) 963-1202
Fax: (509) 963-1733

Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) Program

The Paid Family and Medical Leave program is a statewide insurance program that provides paid family and medical leave to eligible employees. The program is administered by the Employment Security Department (ESD). Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program does not replace the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In many cases, PFML and FMLA will run at the same time. PFML offers the same job protections as FMLA, provided the employee has worked at CWU for at least 12 months and at least 1250 hours in the previous 12 month period, in addition to partial wage replacement. The minimum weekly claim is 8 consecutive hours of leave.

CWU employees may choose to apply for paid leave benefits online through the Employment Security Department’s Paid Family & Medical Leave webpage. Filing a claim for paid leave benefits with ESD is a separate process from taking a medical leave of absence from the University. Employees should begin any medical leave of absence by following the appropriate CWU process, including meeting with the HR FMLA/PFML specialist and completing medical or other supporting documentation (e.g., a FMLA Health Care Provider Statement). ESD and CWU cannot share medical documentation, but ESD may accept a copy of the medical certification already provided for FMLA protected leave as part of the PFML claim.

Generally, the PFML process looks like this:

  • Step 1: Notify HR that you intend to apply for PFML by filling out this form: Required Notice of Intent to Apply for Washington Paid Family Leave. Your notice should include approximately how long you expect you’ll be out and the approximate dates.
  • Step 2: Read the Required Statement of Employee Rights Under PFML.
  • Step 3: Create an online account with ESD. Provide contact information, confirm Washington state employment, leave type requested, dates of the leave, date notice was provided to the CWU, and documentation supporting the leave of absence. You will need a scanned copy of personal identification, banking information (if you choose the electronic funds transfer option), and medical documentation to complete your application.
  • Step 4: ESD will use hours and wage information they receive quarterly from all employers in Washington to determine eligibility. ESD will contact CWU to confirm details of the employee’s claim.
  • Step 5: Once ESD approves the claim, individuals will submit weekly claims to ESD for the paid benefit.
    • CWU does offer “supplemental benefits”.
    • Any hours actually worked while on intermittent leave will lower the amount of PFML benefit you receive from ESD.
    • All accrued leave from CWU (e.g. vacation, sick, personal holiday, etc.) submitted on your timesheet is considered a “supplemental benefit”, and will not affect the PFML benefit amount you receive from ESD.
  • Step 6: For Civil Service and Exempt employees, ensure that you enter your time in MyCWU Time & Attendance correctly. Contact HR at to schedule a meeting with the HR FMLA/PFML Specialist before your leave begins to make sure you understand correct leave coding entries.

Note: Please wait until after the date of your qualifying medical event (e.g. surgery or baby delivery date) to apply for PFML leave. If you apply early, your application may be denied. For all leaves except birth or placement of a child, there is a waiting period of up to 7 days before an employee will be eligible for PFML benefits. Individuals have 12 months from the date of a child’s birth or placement (foster or adoption) to take family leave.

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