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EMPLOYER INFORMATION

EMPLOYER INFORMATION

EMPLOYER INFORMATION

Employer update

In January 2022, Gov. Inslee signed a bill, which:

    • Delayed WA Cares Fund implementation by 18 months. Premium collection will now begin on July 1, 2023.

    • Created new exemption categories for veterans, spouses of military personnel, Washington workers who live out of state, and workers who have non-immigrant work visas. Learn more about exemptions.

Knowing there is money set aside for care in the future gives employees peace of mind today. The WA Cares Fund makes long-term care insurance accessible for all Washington workers.

You can still offer long-term care insurance to your employees! Offering private long-term care insurance to your employees can help supplement their WA Cares benefit and give them greater security into the future. However, it is your employee’s responsibility to decide whether or not to apply for an exemption. You cannot apply for exemptions on behalf of your employees.

Remember, once approved, private long-term care insurance exemptions are permanent. Employees cannot opt back in, even if their employment changes.

Calculating Premiums

Calculate the total premium amount for each of your employees. The premium for 2023 is 0.58 percent of an employee’s gross wages, so:

    • Gross Wages x 0.0058 = premium for employee

NEW! Check out our updated premium calculator, which will help you determine premium amounts for both WA Cares and Paid Leave.

Please note: Unlike Paid Leave, premium contributions are not capped at the taxable maximum for social security.

Tracking Employee Exemptions

Some of your employees may choose to apply for an exemption from the WA Cares Fund. It’s the employee’s responsibility to apply and – if approved – to notify you (their employer) and provide you with a copy of their approval letter from ESD.

Once approved, private long term care insurance and service-connected disability exemptions are permanent. Employees cannot opt back in.  

Other exemption categories are conditional upon the employee continuing to meet the requirements of the exemption. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify their employer of any changes to their exemption status and failure to do so can result in required back-payment of premiums and additional penalties. Read more about that here.

Once notified of an employee’s exemption, employers must:

    • Keep a copy of the employee’s approval letter on file.
    • Not deduct WA Cares premiums from exempt workers.

Please note: Approval letters provided by ESD will list an effective date. Exemptions will become effective the following quarter that an employee receives an exemption.

Learn more about exemptions here.

Learn more

Check out our employer toolkit

There’s plenty to know about WA Cares, and we’re committed to making your experience as easy as possible with helpful info and resources. 

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FAQ

When will employees start paying the premium?
Premium withholding will begin July 1, 2023.

Am I supposed to withhold WA Cares premiums from my employees now?
No. The Legislature delayed parts of the WA Cares implementation by 18 months, so employers won’t begin withholding premiums until July 1, 2023.

If you already withheld WA Cares premiums from your employees, you must refund them within 120 days of collection.

I included my WA Cares premium payment with my Paid Leave payment. How do I get a refund for my WA Cares premiums?
If you’re up to date with Paid Leave reporting and payments and have a credit balance on your account, you can request a refund for any WA Cares premiums included with your Paid Leave payment. If you have a balance due for Paid Leave, your payment will be applied to that balance first.

Is quarterly reporting required in April 2022?
While WA Cares reporting is delayed, employers are still required to report and remit premiums for Paid Family and Medical Leave in April 2022.

Are the file specifications for quarterly reports changing?
ESD released new file specifications for Paid Leave and WA Cares Fund quarterly reporting last fall, and those specifications will not change. However, until WA Cares reporting begins in October 2023, employers can submit reports using either the old or new format. If using the new format, enter “$0” in fields related to WA Cares.

Can I use the CSV file that is just used for Paid Leave, or do I have to use the new file specs that include WA Cares? What about amendments?
We encourage employers to start using the new file specs in April 2022, both for initial reports and amendments. However, we’ll still accept reports using the old format until reporting for WA Cares begins in October 2023.

Can I use the ICESA file that is just for Paid Leave, or do I have to use the new file specs that include WA Cares? What about amendments?
We encourage employers to start using the new file specs in April 2022, both for initial reports and amendments. However, we’ll still accept reports using the old format until reporting for WA Cares begins in October 2023.

When can I test the new CSV file specifications?
Employers can test the new CSV file specifications starting in April 2022.

When can I test the new ICESA file specifications?
Employer agents, or third-party administrators, can test the new ICESA file specifications starting in April 2022.

More FAQs for employers

Need more info?

Visit our Learn More page to read our frequently asked questions, including specific questions for employers.