Welcome to the Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds



In fairness to the Department, you should first try to resolve the complaint directly with them. 

Here are some good steps to take to resolve any “consumer” problem, whether it involves a government agency or a company in the private sector.

Write it down. Whether you are seeking services or filing a complaint, keep records of the contact you have with an agency. Record the names of the staff people you speak with, and include the date and time of your conversation.  Keep copies of all documents you receive or provide the agency.  A chronological sequence of contacts and dates is helpful in explaining your problem to the agency.  It will also be helpful if you need to file an appeal of the agency decision.  

  • Ask questions. Some good questions to ask:
    • Why was my request denied?
    • What law or policy applies?
    • Was the law or policy applied consistently?
    • What appeal process (if any) is available?
  • Be clear and pleasant.
  • Talk to the right people. Don’t get angry with the first employee you speak with; usually he or she cannot make or change policy.  If you cannot resolve the matter, ask to speak with a supervisor.  Keep asking question until you understand what happened and why.
  • Read what is sent to you (including the fine print!).  Carefully read all information sent to you.  Many agency decisions may be appealed, but there are deadlines.  Be sure to follow appeal rules and deadlines.

If you do not want to contact the Employment Security Department yourself, or if you complain to the Department and are not satisfied with its response, then feel free to contact us or use our online complaint form. 


File an Appeal

Many decisions issued by the Department of Employment Security (Department) are appealable.  As a first step, you can ask the Department to reconsider its decision.  If you are still unhappy with the Department’s decision, you may then request an administrative hearing with an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings.  If you do not prevail at the Office of Administrative Hearings, you may file an appeal in Superior Court.

The Ombuds cannot overturn a decision issued by an administrative law judge or a court.


We Do Not Handle

The Ombuds does not handle complaints regarding unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, or workers’ compensation.

For unemployment benefits:
Please contact the Employment Security Department.

For paid sick leave:
Please contact the Department of Labor and Industries' Employment Standards Program at 1-866-219-7321 or esgeneral@lni.wa.gov, or visit their resource centers for Employees or Employers.

For workers' compensation:
Please contact the Department of Labor and Industries.

The Office of the Ombuds for Injured Workers of Self-Insured Employers advocates for the rights of injured workers of self-insured employers, and can be reached at 1-888-317-0493.