X
 

Employer Resources

Cares Fund (WA)

The WA Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Act (that has been renamed the WA Cares Fund) was signed by Governor Inslee in 2019. The intent of the Cares Fund is to make Long Term Care services available to all Washingtonians, as many individuals need Long Term Care over the course of their lifetime(s). Most Medicare plans cover very little Long Term Care and Medicaid requires one to spend down their life savings before paying for Long Term Care. The Cares Fund provides services that allow people to "age in place" (that is, remain in their homes), in addition care in a nursing facility. The Cares Fund will be funded through payroll deductions. These deductions had been scheduled to  start on 1/1/2022, but on 1/27/2022 Governor Inslee signed a bill that delays premium collection to July of 2023. Legislation states that any employees that had premiums deducted must be refunded within 120 days of the premiums being withheld.

The program is mandatory for anyone who is an employee in Washington State, regardless of their age, how many hours they work, or when they plan to retire. Those who are self-employed may voluntarily participate. The definition of self-employed used for the Cares Act is the same definition used by the Paid Family and Medical Leave program. The cost is 5/8th of a percent of gross wages (including bonuses). To calculate annual cost, multiply annual salary x .0058.  There was an opt-out option for those who had an equivalent or better individual or group Long Term Care insurance in place by 11/1/2021. Employees who would like to and are eligible to opt-out of the payroll deduction and program benefits need to submit an opt-out application to the ESD and provide the approval letter from the ESD to their employer.

NWMN is a provider of ministry resources and as such the information, opinions, and materials provided are of this nature and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or accountant.
 

Employee Classification: Exempt vs. Non-Exempt (WA and ID)

A key distinction churches need to make in order to stay legally compliant is which of their employees are classified as Exempt and which are classified as Non-Exempt.  The sections below specify which employment regulations apply to each classification. 

To access a Church Law & Tax article with guidelines on how to determine if an employee is Exempt or Non-Exempt, click here.  Generally, those in pastoral (or ministerial) roles have what is called a ministerial exemption (as noted in the Church Law & Tax article).  Before applying this rule too broadly, please seek counsel on your church’s or minister’s specific situation.

NWMN is a provider of ministry resources and as such the information, opinions, and materials provided are of this nature and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or accountant.
 

Minimum Salary for Exempt Employees (WA and ID)

Effective January 1, 2020 all Exempt employee, except ones using the ministerial exemption (see page 6), are required to make a minimum of $35,568/year.  If an employer has Exempt employees who do not make this minimum, they can either increase the employee’s wage to the threshold OR re-classify them as Non-Exempt and pay them hourly.  Non-Exempt employees must be paid minimum wage and paid overtime (at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rate of pay) for hours worked over 40 in one week.  Click here for a flow chart that illustrates the application of the minimum salary.  This change is at the federal level, so it affects all states.  If a State has a different Exempt salary threshold than the Federal rule, the rule that is the highest benefit to the employee prevails.

Washington Only

Effective January 1, 2021, WA’s Exempt minimum salary has exceeded the federal requirements. It is $52,744 for employers who have between 1-50 employees for 2022. Click here for information on this.  Please note that amounts on this chart that are beyond 2022 are an estimate, as the Consumer Price Index, which the Exempt salary minimum is based on, may change between now and then.

NWMN is a provider of ministry resources and as such the information, opinions, and materials provided are of this nature and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or accountant.
 

Paid Family and Medical Leave (WA)

The Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave was signed into law in 2017 and required that employee paycheck deductions (i.e. premiums) started to be collected on January 1, 2019, unless the employer:

  1. Voluntarily decided to pay these premiums on their employee’s behalf. OR
  2. They applied and were approved to operate a Voluntary Plan.  Voluntary Plans are employer run and employer funded plans that meet or exceed the state’s plan benefits.

Employers that have 50 or more employees are required to pay an employer-paid premium in addition to the employee-paid premium.  Premiums are remitted to the Employment Security Department (ESD) for all classifications of employees (Exempt or Non-Exempt) of for-profit and not-for-profit employers, regardless of the number of hours/week that the employees work.  

From 1/1/2019 – 12/31/2021, employee premiums were .0025332 of their gross wages.  For example, an employee whose gross wages were $4,000/month paid $10.13/month.  Effective 1/1/2022, employee premiums are .0043932 of gross wages.  For instructions on how to remit premiums, click here.

For more information about employer’s responsibilities under the Paid Family and Medical Leave, click here.  For more information about which employees will qualify to use the Paid Family and Medical Leave, and what it can be used for, click here.  Even if an employee will not qualify to use the Paid Family and Medical Leave, their employer is still responsible to withhold premiums from their paycheck for the program.

NWMN is a provider of ministry resources and as such the information, opinions, and materials provided are of this nature and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or accountant.
 

Paid Sick Leave (WA)

The Washington State Paid Sick Leave Act went into effect on January 1, 2018.  It applies to all Non-Exempt employees of for-profit and not-for-profit employers.

The Paid Sick Leave Act requires that employees accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. An employer may provide an employee with more generous leave, including a higher rate of sick leave accrual.  An employer may alternatively choose to provide a Paid Time Off (PTO) benefit, that can be used for either sick time or vacation time, as long as it is equal to or more generous than the Paid Sick Leave Act accrual requirement and the employer allows employees to use their PTO for all situations the Paid Sick Leave Act outlines.

For more information about the policy, including what Paid Sick Leave can be used for, carry over requirements of Paid Sick Leave from one year to the next, and policy templates, click here.  Note that if an employer chooses to require reasonable notice for the use of Paid Sick Leave, or to request verification for absences exceeding three days, they are required to have their Paid Sick Leave policy in writing.

NWMN is a provider of ministry resources and as such the information, opinions, and materials provided are of this nature and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or accountant.

 

Questions?

Questions related to the above topics can be directed to the Network’s Human Resources Specialist, Theresa Thacker, or to your church’s legal counsel.

35131 SE Douglas St., Suite 200, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
o: (425) 888-4800        |       f: (425) 888-4848