Revised Eligibility Guidance

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HCA has received a variety of questions in recent weeks, especially during and after HCA’s benefits administrator training, related to including (or not including) the use (or anticipated use) of paid leave hours in a SEBB Organization’s determination that a school employee is “anticipated to work at least six hundred thirty hours per school year.” Since the completion of trainings, HCA has reviewed and revised guidance on this topic.

HCA does not believe it was the legislative or SEB Board’s intent to deny benefits to employees who are on paid leave. We intend to seek SEB Board policy clarification in 2020 and anticipate providing clarity ahead of the 2020-2021 school year.  In the meantime, SEBB Organizations should interpret “hours worked” to include leave hours compensated by the SEBB Organization when making benefit eligibility determinations for the 2019-2020 school year. However, this guidance does not change the requirement to exclude holiday hours from eligibility determinations.

HCA believes this revised guidance also aligns with the majority of current (pre-SEBB Program) practices by SEBB organizations on how they consider paid leave when determining benefits eligibility.   As HCA works on a policy resolution for the SEB Board’s consideration this winter, we are interested in gathering your feedback and insight on this topic for consideration as we work to develop the clearest policy going forward starting with the 2020-2021 school year.   Any initial insight should be sent by November 6, 2019 to Rob Parkman at Rob.Parkman@hca.wa.gov.