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WA Cares fund: What you need to know

WA Cares fund: What you need to know Premium collection begins in January. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, you must collect WA Cares premiums from your employees’ wages and report their wages and hours at the end of the each quarter—the same way you do now for Paid Leave. As an employer, you won’t pay any share of WA Cares premiums for your employees.

Tracking employee exemptions
Some employees may choose to apply for an exemption from WA Cares coverage. It’s their responsibility to apply, and—if approved—to notify and give you a copy of their approval letter from ESD. Once approved, exemptions are permanent and employees can never opt back in.

Once notified, you must:

  • Not deduct WA Cares premiums from employees who’ve provided an ESD exemption approval letter. Note: This letter will list the effective date of the employee’s exemption.
  • Keep a copy of your employees’ approval letters on file.

When will employees receive their exemption approval letters from ESD?
We’re processing your employees’ exemption applications as quickly as we can in the order we received them. As we’ve shared, if they completed their application on or before Dec. 1, 2021, we guarantee we will process it before premiums take effect in January.

If you have eligible employees who still intend to apply for an exemption, encourage them to submit their application as soon as possible. Exemptions take effect the quarter after the application is approved. Example: If an employee’s exemption application is approved on Jan. 15, 2022, they must still contribute WA Cares premiums until the new quarter begins on April 1, 2022.

(This information provided by the Employment Security Department)

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