ALERT FOR WA EMPLOYERS: Governor Inslee asks WA businesses to implement social distancing
Governor Jay Inslee updated Washington employers on the current state of Covid-19 on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Governor Inslee expects the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to continue to grow; here’s what Washington State employers need to know.
Employers across Washington are being asked to help slow the spread of Covid-19 by implementing social distancing techniques. Consideration of each technique should be based on position and the type of service the employee provides.
Encourage telecommuting for positions that can be done from home.
Conduct telephone meetings instead of holding meetings in conference rooms, even if everyone is working in the same building.
If you are in the service industry, consider whether there are options to deliver services in another way. Ex: If you own a restaurant, can you re-arrange seating to put more distance between tables?
Other Employer Best Practices
Employers can better prepare themselves and their employees by following these recommendations:
Promotion of “if you are ill, stay home” requirement to all employees
Use only trusted websites for up-to-date information:
Cross-train resources for critical functions (i.e., payroll)
More guidance for businesses and employers is available from the CDC
Options for employees infected or quarantined for Covid-19
Washington state has several programs in place to help reduce the financial impact on individuals who are not able to work as a result of infection or mandatory quarantine.
Paid Sick Leave: Employees are allowed to utilize accrued paid sick leave for any time off taken as a result of Covid-19.
Paid Family Medical Leave: Employees may be eligible for paid medical leave benefits available through the Employment Security Department (ESD). The waiting week does apply, and ESD is currently reporting a nine-week processing time for claims but can escalate claims for certain hardships.
Unemployment Insurance: ESD adopted emergency rules that went into effect on March 10, 2020, that ensures unemployment benefits are available to individuals whose employment is impacted by Covid-19.
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