50A.04.595  <<  50A.04.600 >>   50A.04.605

Voluntary plansGenerally.

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 1399-S.SL) ***
(1) An employer may apply to the commissioner for approval of a voluntary plan for the payment of either family leave benefits or medical leave benefits, or both. The application must be submitted on a form and in the manner as prescribed by the commissioner in rule. The fee for the department's review of each application for approval of a voluntary plan is two hundred fifty dollars.
(2) The benefits payable as indemnification for loss of wages under any voluntary plan must be separately stated and designated separately and distinctly in the plan from other benefits, if any.
(3) Neither an employee nor his or her employer are liable for any premiums for benefits covered by an approved voluntary plan.
(4) Except as provided in this section, an employee covered by an approved voluntary plan at the commencement of a period of family leave or a medical leave benefit period is not entitled to benefits from the state program. Benefits payable to that employee is the liability of the approved voluntary plan under which the employee was covered at the commencement of the family leave or medical leave benefit period, regardless of any subsequent serious health condition or family leave which may occur during the benefit period. The commissioner must adopt rules to allow benefits or prevent duplication of benefits to employees simultaneously covered by one or more approved voluntary plans and the state program.
(5) The commissioner must approve any voluntary plan as to which the commissioner finds that there is at least one employee in employment and all of the following exist:
(a) The benefits afforded to the employees must be at least equivalent to the benefits the employees are entitled to as part of the state's family and medical leave program, including but not limited to the duration of leave. The employer must offer at least one-half of the length of leave as provided in RCW 50A.04.020(3) with pay and provide a monetary payment in an amount equal to or higher than the total amount of monetary benefits the employee would be entitled to receive as part of the state-run program. The employer may offer the same duration of leave and monetary benefits as offered under the state program.
(b) The sick leave an employee is entitled to under RCW 49.46.210 is in addition to the employer's provided benefits and is in addition to any family and medical leave benefits.
(c) The plan is available to all of the eligible employees of the employer employed in this state, including future employees.
(d) The employer has agreed to make the payroll deductions required, if any, and transmit the proceeds to the department for any portions not collected for the voluntary plan.
(e) The plan will be in effect for a period of not less than one year and, thereafter, continuously unless the commissioner finds that the employer has given notice of withdrawal from the plan in a manner specified by the commissioner in rule. The plan may be withdrawn by the employer on the date of any law increasing the benefit amounts or the date of any change in the rate of employee premiums, if notice of the withdrawal from the plan is transmitted to the commissioner not less than thirty days prior to the date of that law or change. If the plan is not withdrawn, it must be amended to conform to provide the increased benefit amount or change in the rate of the employee's premium on the date of the increase or change.
(f) The amount of payroll deductions from the wages of an employee in effect for any voluntary plan may not exceed the maximum payroll deduction for that employee as authorized under RCW 50A.04.115. The deductions may not be increased on other than an anniversary of the effective date of the plan, except to the extent that any increase in the deductions from the wages of an employee do not exceed the maximum rate authorized under the state program.
(g) The voluntary plan provides that an employee of an employer with a voluntary plan for either family leave or medical leave, or both, is eligible for the plan benefits if the employee meets the requirements of RCW 50A.04.015 and has worked at least three hundred forty hours for the employer during the twelve months immediately preceding the date leave will commence.
(h) The voluntary plan provides that an employee of an employer with a voluntary plan for either family leave or medical leave, or both, who takes leave under the voluntary plan is entitled to the employment protection provisions contained in RCW 50A.04.025 if the employee has worked for the employer for at least nine months and nine hundred sixty-five hours during the twelve months immediately preceding the date leave will commence.
(i) The voluntary plan provides that the employer maintains the employee's existing health benefits as provided under RCW 50A.04.245.
(6)(a) The department must conduct a review of the expenses incurred in association with the administration of the voluntary plans during the first three years after implementation and report its findings to the legislature.
(b) The review must include an analysis of the adequacy of the fee in subsection (1) of this section to cover the department's administrative expenses related to reviewing and approving or denying the applications and administering appeals related to voluntary plans. The review must include an estimate of the next year's projected administrative costs related to the voluntary plans. The legislature shall adjust the fee in subsection (1) of this section as needed to ensure the department's administrative expenses related to the voluntary plans are covered by the fee.
(c) If the current receipts from the fee in subsection (1) of this section are inadequate to cover the department's administrative expenses related to the voluntary plans, the department may use funds from the family and medical leave insurance account under RCW 50A.04.220 to pay for these expenses.
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