Washington State SealWhat is the Washington State Family Care Act

Washington State’s Family Care Act (2002) allows workers with available paid sick leave or other paid time off, to care for a sick child with a routine illness; a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent with a serious or emergency health condition; and an adult child with a disability.

How the Act Helps Employees Care for Loved Ones

Workers with paid leave benefits are entitled to use their choice of earned paid sick leave or other earned paid time off to care for a sick family member. As long as workers are eligible to use their earned paid leave for their own illnesses, they must also be allowed to use it for a family member, covered under the Act, who is ill.

Workers with Disability Plans

Depending on the type of plan and whether or not the employer offers paid leave for an illness, an employee may or may not be able to use their disability plan as paid time off to care for a sick family member. Individual plans may need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if an employee is covered.

How the Act Affects Employers and Business Owners

The Washington State Family Care Act does not require businesses to offer paid sick leave, but rather it ensures employees who have earned sick leave or other paid time off are able to use this leave to care for sick family members, as specified by the law.

Businesses cannot apply attendance policies to workers when they use their paid leave to care for sick family members under the Family Care Act. They can however, establish and apply attendance policies when workers use paid leave for their own illnesses. Businesses cannot discriminate against workers for exercising their rights to sick leave, but if a worker abuses a sick leave policy, an attendance policy may then be applied.

The law, however, does not restrict an employer’s right to require verification of an illness or other health condition described in the Family Care Act. The law states that an employee taking leave under this law must comply with the terms of the employer’s policy applicable to the leave. If the employer’s policy requires medical certification for using leave for an illness, that same policy is applicable when an employee uses the leave for the care of family members.

Contact Seattle Employee Rights Attorneys

If you believe that your employer, a co-worker, or someone in the workplace has violated your employee rights, an experienced Seattle employee rights attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle employee rights lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The employee rights lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.