Legislature and governor delay Washington Cares Long-Term Care program

Person in a wheelchair sits outside in a courtyard. Photo is taken from behind the individual.

The information below is a follow-up, including new information, to a message shared with OSD employees in the Here’s the Scoop post on January 13, 2022.

The Washington Cares Fund law (also referred to as the Long-Term Care benefit law) was enacted by the 2019 Legislature. The purpose of the law is to set up a system for employees to save and buy into long-term care services. Seven out of 10 people will need long-term care in their elder years, and without a funding source this can cause significant hardship on the individual and their family.

By law, beginning January 1, 2022 employers must collect the premiums that fund the system from the paychecks of any employee who was not recognized as being exempt by the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD).

On December 17, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders released a statement committing to make changes to the Washington Cares Fund law in the 2022 Legislative Session. Many state of Washington employees and employers provided feedback on the legislation regarding the small benefit of the program, and the inequity for employees nearing retirement and for employees who work in Washington now, but will likely never benefit from the program.

On January 27, 2022 Gov. Inslee signed legislation to delay the Long-Term Care payroll tax. Substitute House Bill 1732 will delay implementation of the legislation by 18 months.

Unfortunately, payroll for the month of January was processed on January 25, 2022 and therefore the district was required to collect the long-term care payroll tax. It was not possible to delay processing payroll and also ensure that all payments can be processed by the treasurer and banks in time to be deposited to employees by January 31.

The district will refund 100 percent of payroll tax collected with your February payroll. Please email help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu if you have further questions that we can help with.