Employee News - April 23, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News




Telecommuting guidance extended through May 31 

A message from Whitney Abrams, Chief People Officer 

On Tuesday, Governor Inslee reiterated that the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 will stay in place at least until May 4, and possibly longer. These restrictions are absolutely necessary if we are to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our state and our region, and our employees – especially our first responders and mission-critical employees – have been doing everything they can to continue serving our region under extremely challenging circumstances. 

Regardless of when the order is lifted, our operations will not return to normal like the flick of a light switch. It will take thoughtful and prudent actions and decision-making to stop the virus from reemerging in a second wave. 

As such, King County is extending mandatory telecommuting for Executive Branch employees who have been telecommuting through Sunday, May 31, 2020. Read more.  

Emergency Deployment Program has immediate need for temporary assignment

As King County continues to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19), there is an immediate need to fill emergency-related roles through temporary assignment. This program has been created to address an urgent need for employees to be deployed to 50 known vacant positions. This number grows every day as programs grow or change. These deployments are intended to last for one to three months and are full-time positions. This includes managers and administrative staff.

Most roles do not have patient contact, and those that do will have that information communicated before the assignment begins, as well as receive appropriate training. 

If you are a King County employee interested in one these roles, and have capacity to help, please follow these instructions:

  1. Receive permission from your supervisor to apply for this redeployment, and
  2. Understand deployments are for a minimum of one week in duration and may be at a location that is a COVID response site, and
  3. Once approved, email the Employee Questionnaire to 
    EmergencyStaffing@kingcounty.gov and CC your supervisor.

For questions or for more information, contact EmergencyStaffing@kingcounty.gov. Learn more at www.kingcounty.gov/emergency-deployment 


Mental health: Tips and resources for navigating uncertain times 

It is okay to not feel okay right now. This pandemic is traumatic. Many of us are struggling. 

Our minds and bodies tend to shift into a state of hyper-vigilance when faced with trauma. Hyper-vigilance helps keep us safe and alive; it’s the mechanism in our brain that reminds us to wash our hands, wear masks, and social distance. This state, while important, can also take a long-term toll on our mental and physical health. 

There are steps you can take to improve your mental health and resiliency during this time. Read the Balanced You blog for tips and resources. 


Reminder: Self-care for telecommuters during the COVID-19 pandemic 

As King County responds to the coronavirus (COVID-19), employees who can telecommute have been mandated to do so until May 31 to reduce the community risk of coronavirus transmission. Furthermore, the CDC has recently issued guidance that everyone practice social distancing. While this strategy has many benefits, the sudden switch can throw off your routine. 

Balanced You wants to support you in rethinking self-care during this time. Up-to-date information on how to protect yourself from the coronavirus can be found here. Tips on how to keep your mind and body well while you respond to the coronavirus professionally and personally can be found below. Read more. 


Reminder: Telecommuting with children at home  

To slow the spread of coronavirus, King County employees who can telecommute have been mandated to telecommute until May 31. Because K-12 schools have closed, King County is temporarily allowing parents and caretakers to telecommute while caring for children at home. 

Telecommuting with children at home is a new experience for most employees and can present its own unique challenges. As such, Balanced You has put together some advice to help you continue to be productive and keep your family safe. Read more. 

Learning about your benefits: Dependents 

Our third video in this short series of benefits videos focuses on dependents. It helps employees learn which of your family members are benefits-eligible, and when you can add them to your health plans. 

These videos have been created to help employees make informed choices about their options, and better understand their employee benefits package.  View all the videos here, and get more information and resources on the Benefits, Payroll and Retirement website. 



Mourning together, virtually: How our Muslim community adapted using technology 

Authors: Mohamed Ali, Ayan Abshir and Equity Response Team 

Death is a universal experience, no matter what race or religion one identifies with. In Islam, Muslims are taught to overcome tragic circumstances with containment (Rida), gratitude (Hamd), patience (Sabr), and firm belief in destiny (Qadr). Although, death is a fact of life, it is never easy to lay a loved one to rest. 

The local Somali community in Seattle was recently devastated by the first COVID-19 death. This death has brought to the surface the stress our community already deals with as Black immigrant Muslims. Yet, the resilience of our community is astonishing. Even while abiding by public health advisories, our community maintains a strong commitment to honoring cultural practices and religious rituals to honor the dead and we continue our strong tradition of comforting bereaved families. Read more. 


Metro creates passenger limits to support social distancing 

To support the health of passengers, drivers, and community members, King County Metro has instituted new passenger limits to promote social distancing. Metro is also developing additional mobility options for customers taking essential trips. 

To better help each person maintain six feet of separation from others as guided by Public Health – Seattle & King County, the optimal number of passengers is 12 on a 40-foot bus and 18 on a 60-foot bus. Read more. 

Featured job: Emergency Site Worker IV 

As King County continues to take an aggressive approach to fighting the effects of COVID-19, we are asking for your help.  There is a significant need for additional staffing assistance during this emergency.  These roles do NOT require a medical background but will provide critical assistance to our healthcare providers who are caring for these patients. We are reaching out to the community to see who might be available and interested in serving as a Site ManagerThis is a facility role that will have no interaction with symptomatic/COVID positive clients.  

 Below are several of the main duties: 

  • Plan, organize, schedule and coordinate work activities. 
  • Provide guidance and technical assistance to staff. 
  • Monitor budget expenditures and authorize purchases. 
  • Recommend changes to procedures and guidelines affecting the facility 

Work Schedule: This is a 24/7 staffing need, so we are looking especially for people who can serve a variety of shifts.  

Who may apply: Any individual able and willing to perform the job duties. 

Locations: We are seeking individuals to work in both existing and new King County facilities.  All locations are located within King County. 

Learn more about this position and view all available emergency deployment positions at www.kingcounty.gov/emergency-deployment 

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