Coronavirus Update for March 24: Emergency Leave Updates and Expansions

Dear Western Community,

Western continues to remain open, and not in suspended operations. Please see below for updates from Human Resources.

Screening Guidance from the WA State Department of Health

COVID-19 is spreading in several communities in Washington and the risk of exposure is increasing for people who live in our state and community. To help minimize the spread of disease, Western is asking that supervisors screen employees who report to work on university property as recommended by the WA State Department of Health. This guidance should also be used for visitors. Supervisors and department heads should follow this recommendation for the duration of Gov. Inslee's Stay-at-Home order and until the risk of community exposure is lower.

A supervisor should screen for the four symptoms stated in the guidance document. If an employee affirms they have any of the four symptoms related to COVID-19, supervisors should advise employees to contact their medical provider and begin isolation procedures as noted in the Supervisor-mgt assessment guide.

Emergency Leave Updates and Expansions

See below for recent updates and emergency expansions to leave options. If you have questions about which leave options you may qualify for, refer to the Leave Guidance document.

Shared Leave

On March 17, 2020, the governor signed into law several meaningful changes to the Shared Leave program. Highlights include:

  • Employees who qualify for shared leave may maintain up to 40 hours of applicable leave in reserves.
  • Employees may use their leave intermittently.
  • An employee does not need to be found ineligible for industrial insurance wage benefits to be eligible for shared leave.
  • An employee who is also receiving industrial wage replacement benefits may receive shared leave up to 25% of their base salary.
  • Shared leave received for the purpose of parental leave must be used in the 16 weeks immediately following birth or placement, or after pregnancy disability has resolved, as long as it is used within one year after the birth of the baby.
  • Employees may qualify for shared leave if the employee, relative, or household member is isolated or quarantined as recommended, requested, or ordered by a public health official or health care provider as a result of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection or exposure during the declared state of emergency.

I am low on accrued leave, can I apply for shared leave?

You may qualify for shared leave if you or your relative or household member is isolated or quarantined as recommended, requested, or ordered by a public health office or health care provider as a result of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection or exposure during a declared state of emergency.

Do I have to deplete all of my accrued leave?

No, effective March 17, 2020, you can maintain a balance of 40 hours of sick leave and 40 hours of vacation.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The Washington State EAP is offering wellness resources to help you and your loved ones cope with COVID-19. This includes a series of virtual sessions to provide support for employees on topics including self-care, coping with stress and fear, and family support. To register for a live presentation or to view a recorded session on demand, visit eap.wa.gov and click on the “COVID-19 Resources” link.

I-9 Completion by Appointment

In an effort to practice social distancing, our HR Front Desk will be working remotely but will come in to complete I-9s for new hires by appointment only. To make an appointment, please contact hr@wwu.edu or call 360-650-3774.

Human Resources will continue to provide 24/7 service. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 360-650-3774 or hr@wwu.edu at any time with questions.

QUESTIONS:

Employee/Labor Relations consultants: 

  • Kelsie Swanson (BFA, URM) at x4065 
  • Megan Galley (ESS, UA) at x2615 
  • Gretchen Lucas (AA) at x2513

Faculty Relations consultant:

  • Austin Cooper at x3915

During this time, you may be faced with delays in Human Resource services. We appreciate your patience!

Chyerl Wolfe-Lee

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources

 

The Incident Command System team at Western has established three goals for all of our preparation and response to COVID-19:  to protect life safety and minimize the spread of the coronavirus illness, to maintain – as much as possible – the continuity of Western’s operations, and to communicate with our communities as fully as possible.

Western's coronavirus information website features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and will get frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.

 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 4:45pm

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