Should I be collecting the payroll tax for WA Cares starting next week? That’s a question many employers are pondering.

This is an important status update on Washington’s new long-term care program known as WA Cares from AWB (Association of Washington Business).

Two weeks ago, Gov. Inslee and state legislative leaders released a statement saying they would delay implementation of the premium assessment for the WA Cares Fund while they seek to make changes to it during the upcoming legislative session. However, the statements did not call for an immediate change to the underlying agency rule which specified that employers would be liable if they failed to collect the new payroll tax that is set to take effect in January.

Over the last two weeks, AWB staff have reached out to the Governor’s Office and Employment Security Department to advocate for the important change to the rule. Unfortunately, neither the governor nor the agency has immediate plans to revise the rule. As a result, the existing rule, with its employer liability, remains the law.

The governing rule for the long-term care program is WAC 192-910-015, which states in part: 

  • (2) When an employer is found by the department to be noncompliant with collecting premiums from an employee, the employer must file an amended report and pay the past due premiums. 

Without a change in the rule, the employers’ liability still exists, despite public statements by policymakers.

To continue monitoring this issue visit the WA Cares Fund website.  We will continue to monitor the issue and provide information as it becomes available.