Human Resources

Using the state’s new Paid Family & Medical Leave program

Beginning January 1, 2020, wage replacement benefits are available through the Employment Security Department (ESD) under Washington State’s Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) program.

In order to provide UW employees with the greatest amount of flexibility to support themselves and their families, the University will allow you to use some types of paid time off at the same time you are using PFML.

Here’s how to utilize the state’s new program while taking advantage of UW’s generous time off benefits:

Staff may choose to use their accrued paid time off to supplement the partial wage replacement they receive from ESD during an approved PFML leave. When using UW paid time off while also claiming PFML wage replacement benefits, UW paid time off is called a “supplemental benefit.” 

Once an employee has notified the UW of a PFML absence, they can choose whether or not to use supplemental benefits, or whether to use their paid time off before unpaid time off. During a PFML absence, employees are not required to use their paid time off in any particular order.

The following time off types can be used as a supplemental benefit when used during a PFML absence (not every time off type is available to every employee):

  • Sick time off
  • Vacation time off
  • Personal holiday time off
  • Holiday credit time off
  • Holiday taken time off
  • Compensatory time off
  • Discretionary time off

Classified Non-Union employees – Supplemental benefits for classified non-union employees will be determined by the State of Washington Office of Financial Management State Human Resources (OFM HR) department, who has not yet announced their implementation decisions.

Sick time off during parental leave

Effective January 1, 2020, monthly-paid staff will no longer be limited to using 30 days of sick time off during a parental leave of absence; the new maximum for using sick time off during parental leave is 18 weeks (720 hours). Labor Relations has reached out to the unions to bargain related changes to the collective bargaining agreements.


The University requires that employees requesting PFML benefits through ESD provide notice to the University thirty (30) days in advance for planned absences, or as soon as it is possible and practical for unplanned absences.


ESD continues to define and develop its processes for this new benefit. Our operations that intersect with this new state program will continue to evolve in the coming months. We will share more information as it becomes available. Webpages summarizing PFML benefits and how staff can file for PFML are available on the UWHR website. For more information about ESD’s program visit