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Employer update

On Jan. 27, Governor Inslee signed a bill that delays parts of WA Cares implementation by 18 months. Most immediately, premium collection for WA Cares won’t begin until July 2023. Employment Security Department (ESD) won’t accept any WA Cares premium payments for the first quarter of 2022.

In February, employers will receive updated information and guidance via our employer newsletter, postal mail to the address on file and on our website.

For now, employers should:

○ Stop withholding WA Cares premiums from employee earnings.

○ Reimburse employees for WA Cares premiums within 120 days of the date premiums were collected.

○ Continue to maintain copies of exemption approval letters for workers who’ve provided them.

Questions about exemptions?

ESD is continuing to monitor legislation that could affect exemptions and will communicate any changes as soon as we can.

Self-employed? Sign yourself up for benefits! 

If you’re self-employed, you can choose to opt in and protect yourself with the same affordable benefits available to other Washington workers.

Get the Benefits of Opting in


If you’re a self-employed earner, WA Cares is your key to long-term care coverage. Your contribution is just as low as traditional workers. You’ll pay the current premium rate, which is 0.58 percent, of:

  • Your net earnings.
  • Gross wages, if any, paid to you from your business entity.

That’s about $300 per year for the median Washington worker, much less than most private insurance.


  • Peace of mind: Once you’re vested, you’re insured against long-term care up to $36,500 over your lifetime.
  • Financial security: Unlike Medicaid, WA Cares doesn’t make you spend down your savings before coverage kicks in.
  • Choice: You decide how and where to use your benefits.


If you have qualifying wages for Paid Family and Medical Leave, they’ll also qualify for WA Cares. In other words, you’re eligible if you’re: 

  • A sole proprietor.
  • A joint venturer or a member of a partnership.
  • A member of a limited liability company (LLC).
  • An independent contractor. Definition.
  • Otherwise in business for yourself.

Corporate officers are not self-employed. See Paid Family and Medical Leave’s Help Center for more on corporations and LLCs.

Learn more 

Need more info?

Visit our Learn More page to read our frequently asked questions.