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  • Writer's pictureGreater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce

WA Cares Fund - Information for Employers

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Knowing there is money set aside for care in the future gives employees peace of mind today. The WA Cares Fund makes long-term care insurance accessible for all Washington workers.

You can still offer long-term care insurance to your employees! Offering private long-term care insurance to your employees can help supplement their WA Cares benefit and give them greater security into the future. However, it is your employee’s responsibility to decide whether or not to apply for an exemption. You cannot apply for exemptions on behalf of your employees.

Remember, once approved, private long-term care insurance exemptions are permanent. Employees cannot opt back in, even if their employment changes.

As a Washington employer, you are required to report your employees’ wages and hours and pay premiums every quarter — unless you had no payroll expenses during that quarter. Beginning July 1, 2023, you’ll collect premiums from your employees the same way you do now for Paid Leave — we’re updating the Paid Leave reporting system on our end so you can report for both programs at the same time. Employers won’t pay any share of WA Cares contributions for their employees.

Need more info on reporting? Check out this helpful info from Paid Family and Medical Leave. WA Cares reporting will be fully integrated for your convenience.

Calculate the total premium amount for each of your employees. The premium for 2023 is 0.58 percent of an employee’s gross wages, so:

  • Gross Wages x 0.0058 = premium for employee

NEW! Check out our updated premium calculator, which will help you determine premium amounts for both WA Cares and Paid Leave.

Please note: Unlike Paid Leave, premium contributions are not capped at the taxable maximum for social security.

Some of your employees may choose to apply for an exemption from the WA Cares Fund. It’s the employee’s responsibility to apply and – if approved – to notify you (their employer) and provide you with a copy of their approval letter from ESD.

Once approved, private long term care insurance and service-connected disability exemptions are permanent. Employees cannot opt back in.

Other exemption categories are conditional upon the employee continuing to meet the requirements of the exemption. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify their employer of any changes to their exemption status and failure to do so can result in required back-payment of premiums and additional penalties. Read more about that here.

Once notified of an employee’s exemption, employers must:

  • Keep a copy of the employee’s approval letter on file.

  • Not deduct WA Cares premiums from exempt workers.

Please note: Approval letters provided by ESD will list the date on which the employee’s exemption takes effect.

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