Is Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program headed for insolvency?

Jan 27, 2022
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Written by Washington Retail
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In a recent presentation to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the Employment Security Department (ESD) surprised stakeholders, the PFML Advisory Committee, and lawmakers by revealing that the PFML Trust Fund is headed for insolvency in 2022. ESD provided a weekly cash flow analysis showing that the deficit could be more than $150 million by the end of 2022. The Department requested an injection of at least $82 million into the trust fund to maintain solvency. The announcement comes on the heels of increases in employee premiums to cover unanticipated costs during the pandemic. Legislators, caught off guard by ESD’s data, quickly pivoted to drafting amendments to PFML legislation to add a new JLARC audit of ESD, retaining outside expertise to complete actuarial and fund analysis, and forming a legislative task force to develop recommendations for the 2023 legislative session. Washington Retail will continue working with the legislative leaders and stakeholders as this unfolds.