Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave

Promoting Uptake of Paid Family Leave 

One quarter of American mothers return to work a mere two weeks after delivering a baby. But times are changing. In 2020, Washington was the fifth state in the nation to implement a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (PFML). PFML represents a major extension of the social safety net.

PFML is aligned with Perigee Fund’s interest in policies and programs that support pregnant and parenting families with more time, money, and care. It enables birthing people to heal from delivery, receive postpartum medical and mental health care, and supports early bonding — all with the economic security of a paycheck. Studies have found that PFML is associated with decreased risk for postpartum depression and better child health and development outcomes. In Washington, the program’s expanded definition of family enables fathers, grandparents, and others who regularly reside in the home to participate in paid bonding and caregiving.

It’s Time to Bond: PFML Uptake Initiative 

We’ve learned from states that have already implemented PFML that diligent outreach efforts are critical to reach those who need the program most. Perigee Fund partnered with trusted community organizations in Yakima and Pierce counties, the Employment Security Department, and the University of Washington to pilot a three-year PFML uptake initiative in those counties. The results show that with strong collaboration, centering those who know their communities best, more families are able to benefit from precious bonding time with their babies. This bonding time sets the stage for healthy attachment and long-term well-being.

Philanthropic-Public Partnership Supports Community Outreach and Analytical Capacity

The philanthropic-public partnership between Perigee and the Employment Security Department filled an important capacity gap not funded by the law at program launch in 2020. The grant allowed the ESD team to focus on timely data access and analytics of administrative data to help answer questions including: How does take-up in the program vary by income, language, location, gender, and cultural groups?

Perigee Fund’s Mariel Mendez talks with Adrianne Garner of Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Washington, the lead convener in Yakima County.

Learn more about what philanthropic funders, including Perigee, are doing to promote access to PFML programs.


Sign Up for Perigee Fund News

Get updates on funding, policy, and developments in the field.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.