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Access to Employees’ PFML Data Clarified

Effective January 1, 2024, an employer, third-party administrator, or employee may have access to the following records and information that are related to an employee’s paid family or medical leave (PFML) claim and are held by the Washington Employment Security Department:

  • The type of leave being taken;
  • The requested leave duration and approved dates; and
  • Whether the employee was approved for benefits and was paid benefits for any given week.

This information may only be used to administer internal employer leave or benefit practices under the employer’s policies. Additionally, the information will be considered as accurate as possible because it’s based on information the department has when it processes the request.

Hiring Decisions Cannot be Based on Off-Duty Cannabis Use

Effective January 1, 2024, employers can’t discriminate against an applicant—during the initial stage of hiring—based on their:

  • Cannabis use off the job and away from the workplace; or
  • Test results, from the employer-mandated drug screening test, which found nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.

Employers may:

  • Require an applicant be tested for a spectrum of controlled substances, which may include cannabis, so long as the employer doesn’t get the cannabis results;
  • Base initial hiring decisions on drug tests that don’t screen for nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites; and
  • Require a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.

The law doesn’t apply to testing for controlled substances other than during the pre-employment stage. For instance, it doesn’t apply to:

  • Post-accident testing;
  • Testing when the employer is suspicious that an individual is impaired or under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, medications, or other substances; or
  • Safety sensitive positions where impairment while working creates a substantial risk of death.
HR Consulting Team, HR Services
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