COVID-19

For the latest COVID-19 health guidance, statistics and resources, visit: Coronavirus.wa.gov

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - HR guidance for state agencies

COVID SHR

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The information here is to help state organizations to prepare for and respond to issues and questions related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We hope this resource helps you make sound decisions in the workplace. We will adjust these guidelines as we learn more about the spread and impacts of the virus. This guidance applies to general government employers. Higher education employers may choose to follow this guidance.

    COVID-19 workforce guidelines

    This memo was sent on 3/5/2021 to HR directors of state agencies and higher education institutions. This workforce guidance is effective immediately and supplements the March 10, 2020, COVID-19 Workforce Guidelines. This guidance is applicable to general government agencies but higher education institutions, boards and commissions, and agencies led by separately elected officials are encouraged to follow these guidelines. There is no expectation that state organizations retroactively apply this guidance.

    This memo was sent on 3/10/2020 to HR directors of state agencies and higher education institutions. It describes state policies and forthcoming emergency rules involving major operational HR matters involved in the COVID-19 outbreak, including self-quarantine, remote working opportunities, and expansion of paid leave status.

    Previously titled "Safe Start Guide".

    Goals and guidance sent out to state agency leaders and HR directors to assist in a safe return to full government service.

    This guidance was distributed to HR Managers on 8/20/20 to help state agencies and managers in those agencies support working parents and caregivers. It includes numerous options to allow flexibility for those state employees with children or other dependents requiring care in the home and other resources and recommendations for supporting employees in light of the ongoing pandemic and school closures.

     

    Additional COVID-19 response guidance

    The Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery Guide provides guidance on many areas for organizations to refer to during the COVID-10 pandemic. Please reference the guide if you do not see a specific item addressed below.

    • Consider, where possible canceling or adjusting non-essential in-person employee meetings and gatherings of 10 or more individuals for the time being. Please work with staff to develop alternatives for conducting these meetings and use good judgment when determining which meetings are essential.

    • Agencies should assess the need for conferences and large gatherings of 50 or more, and whether alternative accommodations can be made to mitigate exposure.  If it is determined a conference is essential and cannot be delayed or conducted by other means, refer to local health authority guidance on strategies to mitigate exposure. 

    • Work with staff to develop alternatives for conducting these meetings to minimize risk, including the use of remote meeting technology.

    • For any questions or concerns with the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), seek legal advice from assigned AAG based on specific factual situations.

    See our guidance on options for onboarding, depending on your agencys's needs:

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    What we recommend

    • If the employee asks to take time off to protect their health and cannot telework, you should allow them to do so.
    • If an employee is unwilling to report to the worksite, the employer should work with the employee to explore options. Allow an employee to telework if telework is an option. If telework is not an option, employees may use leave in accordance with the civil service rules or CBA.

    What health and medical organizations strongly recommend

    How Human Resources should respond to each issue

    You can recommend that the employee review what the CDC and DOH recommends and consult with their health care provider by phone.

    If the employee asks to take time off to protect their health and cannot telework, you should allow them to do so.

    If an employee is unwilling to report to the worksite, the employer should work with the employee to explore options. Allow an employee to telework if telework is an option. If telework is not an option, employees may use leave in accordance with the civil service rules or CBA.

    • Personal holiday, compensatory time, recognition leave and exchange time may be used subject to agency policy and applicable collective bargaining agreements.
    • Reasonable accommodation exceptions may be made on a case by case basis. Work with your HR office to determine these outcomes.
    • If you are subject to screening and refuse, you will be sent home on leave without pay.
    • For questions about the interaction between unemployment insurance, paid family and medical leave, and L&I workers' compensation:
    • COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Available [PDF]
    • For how to apply for unemployment insurance: 

    Can I ask my employee if they are experiencing symptoms of fever and cough or shortness of breath?

    Yes, you may ask them this question. Don’t ask them to disclose if they have an underlying medical condition. If they are experiencing these symptoms, they need to stay home and not come to work for 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms get better, whichever is longer.

    See our guidance on continuing active recruitments, freezing or suspending recruitments, and how to interview candidates during the COVID-19 outbreak:

    Last updated
    Thursday, July 15, 2021
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