Employee News - April 10, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News


How to apply for and donate to Emergency Leave Program 

King County is working hard to address the challenges that have arisen from the coronavirus, and is providing new ways to support employees. Some employees are impacted more than others, and will exhaust their paid leave while recovering their health or caring for others. With this in mind, the Emergency Leave Donation Program was developed so that employees who have been affected by COVID-19 can request donated leave. 

Employees interested in supporting colleagues affected by COVID-19 can donate accrued sick and vacation leave in two different ways:

Read more.

safety strap

Ensuring the safety of essential service personnel, including those in public transit and paratransit  

Public Health has stated that essential services, including public transit and paratransit, have critically important tasks that at times involve getting closer than six feet to others. For example, the safety of passengers in wheelchairs relies in some cases on drivers helping to secure them. 

Metro has adhered to Public Health’s guidance to minimize driver-to-passenger interaction by directing riders to board at rear doors if they are able, eliminating fares, and installing safety straps; by regularly sanitizing and deep cleaning vehicles and facilities; and by providing hand sanitizer and gloves to drivers.   

Metro has assembled a task force to explore how to further promote safety. This is part of a commitment to continue providing essential transit service to the community during this time—including for first-responders, grocery store workers, and healthcare providers, while keeping drivers, passengers, and community members as safe as possible.  

For more information about what King County Metro is doing to keep operators and passengers safe, visit the Metro Matters blog. 

King County to offer hotel rooms to healthcare workers impacted by COVID-19

In partnership with the state’s health care unions, King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci today announced that the County reserved a block of rooms at Hotel 116 in Bellevue for healthcare workers who need a place to stay if they are concerned about COVID-19 exposure.

King County is partnering with Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and UFCW 21 to inform their members about this resource. 

“Healthcare workers on the front lines of our crisis response shouldn't have to put their families and loved ones at risk for doing their jobs. I am gratified to have the opportunity to work with healthcare unions to offer housing for caregivers during this public health emergency, so they can remain safe and care for our community,” said Executive Constantine. Read more.

thanyou phweek

Celebrating the outstanding work of Public Health and healthcare professionals in our region 

The courage, professionalism, and service of public health and healthcare professionals deserves our deepest gratitude and admiration. 

Thank you for your service and sacrifice as we face the COVID-19 pandemic together. 

April 6-12 is National Public Health Week. Over the last several weeks, we've all seen firsthand why public health matters to our community and around the world. 

We’re grateful for the work you do every day, and especially now. Thank you.


Working together to overcome domestic violence  

As our community socially distances to stop the spread of COVID-19, law enforcement officials have seen an increase in domestic violence situations. Throughout the month of March, the Seattle Police Department saw a 21% increase in reported domestic violence.   

King County is here to provide support and resources for survivors of domestic violence and their families. To get help, or support someone in need, review this resources webpage. You can to find out about legal rights, get an order of protection, and other community services. Emergency petitions can be now filed for Anti-Harassment or Stalking Orders remotely. To donate to an organization that provides domestic violence assistance, view a list or nonprofits that participate in the Employee Giving Program here 

King County employees dealing with a domestic violence situation and in need support, can also call the King County Employee Assistance Program Main Line at 206-263-8733 or email HRDEAP@kingcounty.govYou can find additional employee resources for emergency housing and community safety here. 

Advice from EAP to front-line staff during COVID-19 

Reporting to your workplace during a pandemic is challenging. The pace can be frantic, and the work can feel relentless. Many people – colleagues and customers – are stressed out, ourselves included. Whether your job is categorized as essential, front line, first responder, or mission-critical, coming into work at this time can cause anxiety, perhaps even fear. Visit the Balanced You blog for advice from EAP on how to cope with areas where you may be struggling. 


Over 20,000 kits to be distributed by Public Health for local COVID-19 testing needs

Thanks to donations of test kits from UW Medicine, Seattle Flu Study and the Washington State Department of Health, Public Health – Seattle & King County will be distributing needed supplies to test for the virus that causes COVID-19.

UW Medicine is contributing 20,000 test kits, prioritized for first responders, health care workers and people who live in high-risk congregate settings, including long-term care facilities and shelters.

The Seattle Flu Study (SFS), which is executing SCAN in partnership with Public Health, will be making 2,000 self-swab kits available to healthcare workers in long-term care facilities. These are primarily being provided as part of a study to understand coronavirus prevalence among healthcare workers, and may also inform recommendations for protecting patients. In addition, SFS will continue to offer testing to approximately 100 homeless shelter residents each week as part of a separate study. Read more. 


CARE Act relief for T. Rowe Price deferred compensation 

If you are a member of a Deferred Compensation Plan through King County, you will receive guidance from T. Rowe Price on coronavirus-related relief which may be permitted under the Coronavirus Response and the Affordable Care Act (CARE Act). For more information, please visit the T. Rowe Price website or call them at 888-457-5770. 


April and May mindfulness class schedule now available 

Mindfulness is a practice that can support you in reducing stress at work and at home. Mindfulness techniques are especially useful now, as we move through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Balanced You continues to partner with Mindfulness Northwest to offer free mindfulness classes and workshops to King County employees, via both employee-specific and community classes. In alignment with social distancing recommendations, all in-person classes have temporarily shifted to online platforms. Read more. 


Exercise and stretching videos you can do in the field, in the office, or at home 

Exercising during a pandemic is tough. Our routines are thrown off. Gyms, Activity Centers, and trailheads are closed. Stress levels are high. Due to the coronavirus response, many employees are working from home, while others are pulling long hours in the office or in the field. Because everything is currently so different, it is easier than normal to get wrapped up in a work project, spend an entire day without exercise or stretching, and end the day with an aching body. 

Muscles need a break, not only from strenuous work, but also from continuous, low-level activity like sitting, and repetitive motions like driving a bus. Additionally, regular exercise has been shown to improve depression and anxiety symptoms, which is especially helpful during this time of uncertainty. Read more. 


Free personalized Money Coaching for King County employees 

During the uncertain economic times brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, you may find yourself becoming worried about your family’s financial stability. Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn to an impartial expert for advice? With King County’s My Secure Advantage (MSA) program, you can receive personalized advice from a professional Money Coach for free. 

What is a Money Coach? 

A Money Coach is a trained professional who works with you one-on-one to assess your current financial situation and help you take concrete steps to improve it. Money Coaches have certifications in financial planning, taxes, and credit counseling. They can help with a wide variety of situations, including establishing or adjusting your budget, advising on mortgage and loan deferrals, or investing. The MSA Money Coaches are paid a salary; they will not charge you any fees and they won’t try to sell you anything. Read more. 

Featured Job: CNA Care Coordinator (Medical Assistant) 

 Salary: $22.74 - $28.83 Hourly 

Location: Various Locations throughout King County, WA 

Job Type: Short Term Temporary, Part Time, Std Wkly Hrs Vary 

Department: DPH - Public Health 

Job Number: 2020NH11591 

Division: Community Health Services 

Closing: Continuous 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

KC Headlines

Contact us!

Interested in sharing a news story, or have a news tip? Click here to submit an item to Employee News. For questions or suggestions, please contact KCEmployees@kingcounty.gov.