Employee News - May 14, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News


cloth mask

New directive for employees to wear cloth face masks   

Effective Wednesday, May 13, all Executive Branch employees must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths if they are likely to be in contact with another individual and distancing of six feet is not able to be maintained, per the Public Health Directive from the Seattle & King County Public Health Officer. The only exceptions are: 

  • Any individual who has a physical disability that prevents easily wearing or removing a face covering; 
  • Any individual who is deaf and uses facial and mouth movements as part of communication; 
  • Any individual who has been advised by a medical professional that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to that individual health related reasons; 
  • Any individual who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance. 

This applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government (definitions below) will receive guidance from their leaders. Read more.  


Mental Health Month week two: Creating healthy routines 

For the second week of Mental Health Month, Balanced You is focusing on the topic “creating healthy routines.” Many of our routines including nutrition, physical activity, social connection, and rest have been upended by the pandemic. Maintaining our old routines may be impossible, due to new work schedules, social distancing rules, or stress levels. As we settle into this new normal, it is important that we develop new, sustainable routines in order to support our physical and mental health. 

Routines we develop during the pandemic may not be as ambitious as our pre-pandemic routines, and that is okay. Be gentle with yourself. Every day take one or two steps toward healthy routines. These steps and the routines they create will help you maintain health and resiliency as you continue to respond to the coronavirus, professionally and personally.  

Visit the Balanced You blog for more information on healthy routines, including a tool to help you plan yours and resources available to support you and your loved ones. 


Protect yourself from unemployment fraud 

As the Employment Security Department (ESD) is grappling with an unprecedented rise in unemployment claims, Washington State is also seeing a rise in fraudulent claims as victims’ identities are being used to file false claims, and ESD has just announced that it is “holding payments for an additional 1-2 days this week so we can validate claims as authentic.”

Some individuals who have not filed an unemployment claim have received notification from ESD indicating that a claim as been filed on their behalf. The State is taking this seriously and reviewing its internal processes to identify and prevent these fraudulent claims going forward. This may slow down processing, but is being done in the interest of claimants.

If you have received a letter from ESD, or if you believe that you are a victim of unemployment fraud, there are several steps that you should take to report this issue to protect your financial identity and credit history: 

1. Step One – Contact HR 

  • Please contact your Human Resources Manager as well as the Department of Human Resources’ unemployment coordinator Elisha Mackey at elisha.mackey@kingcounty.gov. 
  • Please include a copy of the letter that was mailed to your home so that we can notify our third-party vendor, Employer’s Edge. 


Elliott Avenue modular pilot project opens to offer shelter beds and services to fight COVID-19 

King County Executive Dow Constantine invited media to join in a tour of the newly completed Elliott Avenue enhanced shelter located at 551 Elliott Avenue West in Seattle that will offer safe housing and 24/7 onsite services for about 45 people currently experiencing homelessness. King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles who represents Council District 4 joined the tour, along with staff of Catholic Community Services, the contract service provider. The location is opening to further King County’s efforts around shelter de-intensification, reducing the density of existing congregate shelters that pose a danger for COVID infection. 

“The homelessness crisis is not new in King County, but the advent of the coronavirus in our communities has intensified the struggle and challenge of living without shelter,” said Executive Constantine. “The Elliott Avenue modulars will offer safe housing, access to health and behavioral health care and other onsite services that will not only help residents keep safe now, but also begin to build a pathway out of homelessness.” 


Resources for employee productivity while telecommuting 

The Department of Human Resources has launched a telecommuting resources 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. Read more.  


Communication and Problem Solving Skills online training, May 19-21 

This three-day, live/online training will address communication and problem-solving skills with the public and with co-workers. This class covers skills for effective listening, speaking, dealing with conflicts and with defensive behavior. 

  • Tuesday, May 19 – Thursday, May 21, from 9-11:30 a.m. Register here. 

To accommodate the transition to online training, this class has been spread out over three days. Class is live via Zoom. For questions contact Learning and Development at KCTraining@kingcounty.gov. 

Rev Up For Retirement online seminar June 10 

It’s never too soon to start retirement planning. If you’re considering retiring in the next few years, the Rev Up For Retirement class will provide you with a basic understanding of Medicare and Social Security to help you make wise and informed decisions. 

At this online event, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and meet guest speakers Kirk Larson from the Social Security Administration and Jean Cormier, who will discuss your Medicare and Social Security options. For Medicare, this will include Part A; Part B; Part D; supplements; Advantage Plans; and when to sign up. For Social Security this will include when to apply; when you are eligible; eligibility based on a spouse’s work history; and how working impacts your benefit. 

Registration is required. Participants will receive a confirmation email a week before the event. Please note attendance is strictly voluntary, on your own time, and non-work related. For more information, contact King County Benefits, Payroll and Retirement Operations. For questions about retirement, contact King County retirement navigator Carmen Johnson at 206-263-1096. 

Stopping the COVID-19 pandemic depends on having the right supplies. Where can you get 5,000 masks? 

Meet the team — from our King County Office of Emergency Management, Public Health - Seattle & King County and other county departments, as well as volunteers — tracking down thousands of masks and hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer to keep healthcare and frontline workers safe.



A new way to protect against email phishing 

Beginning May 18, King County employee will have a new and easy way to report suspicious emails that may be phishing attacks. 

How will it work? All Outlook email users will get a new button called Report Phishing placed on the ribbon bar of their Outlook screen that they can click when confronted with a suspicious email.  

If you’re working from home you’ll need to connect via VPN for the button to be installed on your computer. Here’s how to easily connect via VPN. Read more.  

Featured job: Staff Physician – Float Pool 

Salary: $85.83 - $108.80 Hourly 

Location: Multiple locations in King County, WA 

Job Type: Appointed, Part-Time 

Department: DPH - Public Health 

Job Number: 2020-11440 

Division: Community Health Services 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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