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.

Beginning January 1, 2020, 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 will accept a copy of the medical certification already provided for FMLA protected leave as part of the PFML claim.

CWU Faculty will not be eligible to apply for PFML until after their current CBA expires August 31, 2020.

Generally, the PFML process looks like this:

  • Step 1: Notify HR that you intend to apply for PFML at Your notice should include about how long you expect you’ll be out and the approximate dates.
  • Step 2: 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 3: 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 4: Once ESD approves the claim, individuals will submit weekly claims to ESD for the paid benefit. Currently, CWU does not offer the “supplemental benefit.” This will be updated as soon as possible.
  • Step 5:  For Civil Service and Exempt employees, ensure that you enter your time in MyCWU Time & Attendance correctly.  Schedule a meeting with the HR FMLA/PFML Specialist before your leave begins to make sure you understand correct leave coding entries.

Note:  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. Eligible employees whose child was born or placed in 2019 can receive paid benefits beginning Jan. 1, 2020, for up to 12 months following the birth or placement.

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