State IT project receives national recognition

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Release Date: 
10/16/2020

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) recognizes Washington state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave project.

Washington state’s Employment Security Department received the State CIO Office Special Recognition award from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) this week for its work in launching the state’s paid family and medical leave system.

Washington became the first state in the country to create a paid family and medical leave system from scratch, and only the fifth state to have such a program at all when Governor Jay Inslee signed the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act into law in July 2017.

This is the second consecutive year Washington state has received NASCIO’s State CIO Office Special Recognition award.

“A paycheck is essential, but time to care for yourself and your family is irreplaceable,” said ESD Commissioner Suzie LeVine. “Paid Family and Medical Leave means Washingtonians won’t have to choose between the two, and employers won’t have to lose workers when life happens.”

When creating the program, ESD used common platforms and technology which enabled the state to avoid a future over-reliance on vendor services.

The Paid Family and Medical Leave program has become a national model, with agency staff, advocates and lawmakers regularly seeking updates on the state’s implementation and advice on how to launch programs as successfully as Washington’s.

By May 1, 2020, ESD had received a total of 65,072 applications for benefits and more than 38,000 claims, which resulted in benefits payments of nearly $114 million.

“This in an amazing achievement,” said State CIO and WaTech Director Jim Weaver. “I would like to recognize and congratulate ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine and her team for their innovative work implementing information technology to address critical business problems. It is wonderful to see their accomplishments recognized at the national level.”

Learn more about the award at NASCIO’s website.

Learn more about the Paid Family and Medical Leave program.