Washington’s Paid Family Leave Program for Self-Employed Individuals

(last updated 08/23/22)
Is it Available?


Who’s Eligible?
  • A sole proprietor
  • A joint venturer or a member of a partnership
  • A member of a limited liability company (LLC)
  • An independent contractor (as described in RCW 50A.05.010 (7)(b))
  • Otherwise in business for yourself

Note: Corporate officers are not self-employed.

For self-employed wages, the state determines your hours worked by dividing your reported wages by the state minimum wage. (If you’ve earned at least $11,070 in the last year, you are eligible.)

Employee/Self-Employed Contribution

Self-employed individuals who enroll will contribute 0.25% of their self-employment income for three years. After that, you can participate on an annual basis. You will file quarterly reports and pay quarterly premiums to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

Contribution Period

To qualify for leave, you must have worked a minimum of 820 hours (about 16 hours a week) in Washington during the qualifying period of that year. 

Note: The 820 hours can be from your self-employment or combined from multiple jobs.

Qualifying Life Events
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • For parents to bond with a new child entering their life either by birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
  • To address certain military family needs.
  • For a worker’s own serious health condition.

Note: Military family leave allows you to spend time with a family member who is about to be deployed overseas or is returning from overseas deployment.

Wage Benefit

For an individual who makes less than 50% of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW), they will qualify for 90% of their average weekly wage.

For an individual who makes more than 50% of the SAWW, they will qualify for the above benefit plus 50% of their average weekly wage for the portion of their income above the 50% of the SAWW.

Maximum benefit: $1,327.00 per week, adjusted annually.

Check out the benefit calculator here.

Length of Benefit

Up to 12 weeks in an application year for medical or family leave. 

Up to 16 weeks of combined qualified life events of medical and family leave in an application year.

Note: Up to two additional weeks for pregnancy, childbirth, or related circumstances. Which can be combined with other uses up to a total of 18 weeks in an application year.

Website to Learn More and Apply

Glossary of Terms:

Employee/Self-employed Contribution:

The amount that a self-employed individual must pay into the program in order to qualify for benefits. Depending on your state this contribution may be quarterly or annually.

Employee’s/Self-employed Average Weekly Wage (AWW):

The total amount an employee/self-employed person earned in a 52-week period divided by 52

  • Ex: If you make $40,000 annually, your average weekly wage is $769.23, which is $40,000 divided by 52.
  • If the contribution is .27% of an employee’s/self-employed person’s average weekly wage, if you made $40,000 annually, your contribution would be $108, which is $40,000 times .0027 (which is .27%).
Contribution Period:

The amount of time you need to pay into the program before you are eligible to apply for PFL benefits.

Qualifying Life Events:

The type of life events that allow you to apply for PFL benefits.

Wage Benefit:

Amount of benefit to be paid to employee/self-employed person during their PFL.

Length of Benefit:

Length of time covered under PFL.

Social Security contribution base:

This is a set of criteria by Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program that caps the amount of earnings each year that are eligible for your social security contributions. Some state’s Paid Family Leave insurance funds use this same threshold to cap contributions into their programs. This cap changes annually. For 2022 the base is $147,000.

Note: The contents of the directory last updated day of 2/15/22. We try our best to have the most up to date information possible, however please double check all information with your state. This directory is for educational purposes only.

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