Employee News - April 15, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



New telecommuting resources site 

The Department of Human Resources has launched a new site with information and resources for employees who have started telecommuting as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The site provides information on tools, health and wellness, and learning employees can do from home. It also has a section for supervisors and managers about managing employees remotely. 

Employees are encouraged to talk to their supervisor if they would like to engage in lengthy trainings during work time. Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible and allow employees to attend online training if their workload allows. The trainings on the new website are free or low cost. Supervisors should be familiar with the process for approving training and any associated costs within their departments and divisions. 

View the telecommuting resources site and learn more about working from home, and staying connected and engaged. 


Coverage expanded for COVID-19 medical care 

King County employees and their family members enrolled in Kaiser (SmartCare) and Regence (KingCare and KingCare Select) medical plans will not have to pay copays, coinsurance, or deductibles for medical services and medications related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.  

King County is providing this coverage enhancement to remove any financial barriers to accessing care and treatment for COVID-19. This expanded coverage takes effect immediately and applies retroactively to services and medications received beginning March 5, 2020. Read more.


Approval process for accessing COVID-19-related paid administrative leave 

King County has entered into Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) with many of its unions to provide employees who meet specific eligibility requirements (see below) and workers with non-standard full-time schedules with up to 80 additional hours of paid leave for COVID-19-related illnesses and reasons. 

This leave is prorated for part-time workers and is not available to interns and short-term temporary employees (STTs). The Office of Labor Relations (OLR) is currently finalizing negotiations with the remaining unions, and the list will be updated as agreements are finalized. This leave is also available to non-represented employees. 

Please be advised that employees must receive supervisor approval in order to take this leave. Supervisors will make decisions based on the eligibility criteria (see below,)
operational needs and business continuity, and employee designations as First Responders and Mission-Critical. Read more. 


Self-care for Essential Personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Essential personnel are employees whose jobs are necessary for King County to continue operating. Many of you – including staff from Metro, DAJD, FMD, the Criminal Defense system, and others – have jobs that cannot be performed at home, and so you continue to report to work each day during this pandemic. King County is grateful for your continued dedication to our community. 

Balanced You knows this is a difficult and stressful time for you. We are here to support essential personnel in reducing stress and caring for your well-being. Visit the Balanced You blog for tips and resources you can use as you respond, professionally and personally, to coronavirus. 

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Join us in thanking our community’s essential workers 

Over the past few weeks many people have transitioned to telecommuting to comply with Governor Inslee’s Stay Home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Many others, who are essential workers, will continue to report to their jobs to ensure critical public health, safety and infrastructure functions continue to support Washingtonians. They are making sure that there is food, water, electricity, trash and sanitation services, buses and trains running, and health care services and spaces. 

Being an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic means potentially exposing themselves and their families to COVID-19 while performing their job duties. Essential workers are having to deal with new stresses of adding social distancing measures to their jobs, shifting work hours, changing childcare needs with school closures among many other challenges, all while serving our King County community during this stressful time. Many of these jobs were hard and underappreciated to begin with, even before additional stresses and pressures of COVID-19. Read more. 


Roads crews continuing their essential work 

Our Roads Services maintenance crews are continuing to keep roads and bridges in unincorporated King County safe and usable during COVID-19 and beyond.

In his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, Governor Jay Inslee listed road maintenance and construction as essential infrastructure activities. Delaying Roads’ work could cause immediate safety hazards as well as long-term deficiencies in the county’s road and bridge system. Catching up on delayed maintenance work in the future might be difficult or impossible, resulting in degraded road conditions and safety problems. 

Roads crews are following public health guidance while doing their work. They’re avoiding close contact with one another, typically driving one person per vehicle; using gloves as needed; and following enhanced cleaning practices for shared tools, equipment, and vehicles. They’re also asking the public to stay clear of crews who are working on roadsides or in their vehicles, and to allow at least six feet of distance if they need to speak to a maintenance worker. Find out more about their essential work here. 

An important message about COVID-19 

COVID-19 is spreading in King County. But together, we can slow it down, saving lives. Everyone, young and old, should stay home and avoid all non-essential contact. 

When you must go out, limit your trips and stay six feet apart from others. Our individual actions affect the health of our entire community. And what we do as a community protects us all. 

Stay home and slow the spread. View this video featuring Public Health Health Officer, Dr. Jeff Duchin and learn more about what King County is doing in response to the coronavirus at www.kingcounty.gov/coronavirus. 

dr jeff

person monitor

Working from home shouldn’t hurt: Ergonomics when away from the office 

It can be challenging to maintain good ergonomic practices when working away from the office. Below are some tips to help employees when setting up a laptop for frequent use. 

  • Maintain a neutral neck position by placing the top of the screen at about eye level or slightly lower if using bifocal glasses. 
  • Use a laptop stand or place your laptop on a stable support surface, such as monitor risers, reams of paper or books so that the screen height can be adjusted. 
  • Attach a regular size, external keyboard and mouse to the laptop, and place them on an adjustable keyboard tray or desk. The keyboard and mouse should be positioned at or slightly below elbow height. 

Learn more and view additional resources on the Safety and Claims Ergonomic evaluation webpage. 


Free mindfulness classes available for employees 

 Stress levels are higher-than-normal lately, due to the ongoing pandemic. A mindfulness practice can help you reduce stress at home and at work. King County employees are invited to join a free mindfulness class, or series of classes, through a partnership between Balanced You and Mindfulness Northwest. Classes are currently being hosted online. Visit the Balanced You blog for schedule and registration information. 


Free employee virtual training series: Investment strategies in volatile markets  

Financial markets are volatile whenever the future earnings of companies, the stability of industries, or the direction of global economies are uncertain. This webinar series is brought to you by My Secure Advantage (MSA). Available dates are: 

Each webinar in this series by will include government and corporate actions intended to stabilize the markets, investing principles, including current investment opportunities and challenges, and a question and answer period. If you register and cannot attend, a recording of the webinar, along with a copy of the session presentation and handouts, will automatically be sent within 2 business days. 


Free employee virtual training series: Budgeting when income is uncertain  

Millions of Americans’ incomes are becoming increasingly unpredictable. The good news is that there are many new governmental programs that can help and budgeting strategies you can implement. This webinar series is brought to you by My Secure Advantage (MSA). Available dates are: 

Each webinar in this series will include government-based programs and nationwide resources, including those recently launched, specific budgeting tactics, student loan repayment strategies, and debt/credit tips, and a question and answer period. If you register and cannot attend, a recording of the webinar, along with a copy of the session presentation and handouts, will automatically be sent within 2 business days. 


2020 Census adjusts deadline to October 31, 2020 

The 2020 Census is underway and more households across America are responding every day. Over 70 million households have responded to date, representing over 48% of all households in America. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau is adjusting 2020 Census operations in order to: 

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees. 
  • Implement guidance from federal, state and local authorities. 
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities. 

Under this plan, the Census Bureau would extend the window for field data collection and self-response to October 31, 2020. For more information about the census and this update, view the official press release from the Census Bureau here. 

Featured Job: Behavioral Health Support Staff for COVID I/Q Facilities - Social Services Specialist 

Salary$25.01 - $31.70 Hourly 

LocationVarious Locations throughout King County, WA 

Job TypeTerm Limited Temporary,PartTime, Std Wkly Hrs Vary 

DepartmentDCHS - Community & Human Services 

Job Number2020AC11581 

DivisionBehavioral Health and Recovery 

Closing7/31/2020 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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