Employee News - November 19, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News




COVID-related Paid Administrative Leave extended to June 2021 

King County is extending the eligibility period for accessing Paid Administrative Leave (PAL) for COVID-related reasons to June 2021 for non-represented employees, and is bargaining the same extension for represented employees. 

This is an extension of the timeframe in which the existing 80 hours of Paid Administrative Leave for COVID-related reasons can be used (see COVID-related Paid Administrative Leave for details); additional hours are not being awarded. For non-represented employees, this extension will last until either June 24, 2021, or June 30, 2021, depending on whether the employee’s pay period is biweekly or semi-monthly. Represented employees can check here to see if their union has approved the Memorandums of Agreement (MOA). This list will be updated as new MOAs are signed. 

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

Executive Constantine on the adoption of $12.4 billion biennial King County budget: Putting our money where our values are 

"I thank the King County Council for their careful deliberations since I transmitted my proposed two-year budget in September. I also want to recognize the many community members who participated in hearings and other venues to get their voices heard. 

"This budget puts our money where our values are. It will provide a safe, dignified place to live to thousands of chronically homeless people. It re-orients our criminal legal system and makes a significant down payment in our ongoing efforts to shift resources to upstream programs aligned with racial and social justice. 

"This budget also enhances Metro service where needs are greatest, and continues King County down the path of a carbon-free transit system. 

na month

November 2020 proclaimed Native American Heritage Month in King County 

As part of our celebrations for Native American Heritage Month, the Metropolitan King County Council and King County Executive Dow Constantine have proclaimed the month of November 2020 Native American Heritage Month in King County. 

Native American Heritage Month was initially proposed in 1990 as American Indian Heritage Month by U.S. House Joint Resolution 577, and in 1991 by Congress Senate Joint Resolution 172, before November was ultimately proclaimed as “Native American Heritage Month” by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. 

“Whereas, in King County, we honor the unique government-to-government relationship that exists between Indian tribes and County Government, and that relationship has weathered various challenges and changes over the years, evolving into a partnership by which we can work productively together,” Councilmembers and Executive Constantine stated in the Proclamation. “During Native American Heritage Month, we reaffirm our commitment to work to promote the well-being and celebrate the history and cultures of our local and regional American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous communities.” 


Prepare now for winter weather 

As we approach winter, now is a great time to ensure you are well-prepared for an emergency or inclement weather at home or work.  

Taking a few steps now to plan ahead will give you peace of mind and help you make good decisions in an emergency:  

  • There are many online resources that you can use to make sure you and your family have what you need to Make it Through an emergency – from an extended power outage to a more severe event. Please take personal preparedness seriously. 
  • If your child is attending school or daycare in-person, learn about their school or daycare policies and procedures for possible early release and facility closures. 
  • Locate flashlights, radio, and extra batteries should you experience a power outage at home. 
  • Store non-perishable meals for your family that don’t require a stove-top, microwave, or oven to prepare, and keep plenty of bottled water on hand. 
  • Make sure pets have appropriate shelter to stay warm and safe. 
  • Get more tips, utility contacts, and weather preparedness checklists at www.takewinterbystorm.org 

 Always have a plan if you need to commute in inclement weather, dress warmly, and let safety be your guide when making travel decisions. 

metro para

King County Council approves Metro’s Access Paratransit Advisory Committee (APAC) 

King County Metro is pleased to announce the 11 members of its newest advisory group, the Access Paratransit Advisory Committee (APAC). The Access Paratransit Advisory Committee will advise Metro, the King County Executive, and the King County Council on transit and policy issues related to equitable public transportation for people with disabilities. 

The work of this new committee will enhance the Access paratransit program by providing guidance to Metro on what to prioritize and on developing a vision for ongoing improvements. The committee was appointed by the King County Executive and was approved by the King County Council for two-year appointments on November 16, 2020. Read more.

Donating excess time to the Employee Giving Program, deadline tomorrow, November 20 

Every year, many employees find themselves in a “use-it-or-lose-it” situation with their vacation balances. When an employee exceeds the maximum vacation accrual, the balance in excess of the maximum is forfeited on January 8. 

If an employee has accumulated leave that they do not plan on taking, they can choose to give the cash equivalent of that excess time to a nonprofit organization in the King County Employee Giving Program and/or to the COVID-19 Emergency Leave Fund. Both donations can be done in PeopleSoft. 

Click here to make a time donation through the Employee Giving Program to a nonprofit organization, and for more information. The deadline to donate is tomorrow, Nov. 20. Read more.

trans week

Medical benefits for transgender employees  

King County provides comprehensive benefits and services to support the health and well-being of eligible employees, retirees, and their dependents, and now offers enhanced medical benefits for transgender employees. 

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, King County expanded its medical plans’ coverage policies for transgender employees and their covered family members. King County has covered gender confirmation surgery and hormone replacement since 2015, but starting in 2020, we are covering additional gender-affirming procedures and treatments to comply fully with World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards, including procedures most insurers exclude.  

This week, during Transgender Awareness Week, we want to remind employees of the enhanced medical benefits available for transgender employees. King County medical plans now provide employees and their covered family members with comprehensive healthcare coverage to support them if they choose to transition physically.  

King County was the first public sector employer in Washington to cover these expanded services, and offering these benefits is an important step in our efforts to build a truly welcoming and inclusive workplace, and an example of living our values and True North. 

If you have questions about these – or any of your employee benefits – please contact the Benefits Team at 206-684-1556 or KC Benefits. 


Celebrating Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Thanksgiving gatherings traditionally center around time spent breaking bread with loved ones. This year, in light of the ongoing pandemic, the steep rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the recent Governor orders to limit social gatherings and non-essential activities, Thanksgiving celebrations are likely to look different for many people. 

Fortunately, there are still safe, fun, and meaningful ways to celebrate the holiday together. Visit this Balanced You blogpost for tips and resources for navigating 2020’s Thanksgiving. 

Employees needed for Balanced You Well-being Advisory Committees  

Do you have ideas on how King County can better support the well-being of you and your colleagues? In response to employee surveys and listening sessions, Balanced You, is developing two new well-being advisory committees: one for telecommuters and one for essential employees working onsite. Anyone interested is invited to apply. Visit this Balanced You blogpost for more information. 

2020 Employee Giving Drive spotlight and reminder for last chance to donate 

The 2020 Employee Giving Drive ends tomorrow, Nov. 20. This week, we are featuring nonprofits that support the arts in our community: 

  • Hilltop Artists (9032) –We use glass art to connect young people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to better futures through art instruction, wrap around services, and mentoring to 650 youth. 
  • 5th Avenue Theatre (9631)– We develop, produce and present live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community; preserve, maintain, and operate the historic 5th Avenue Theatre. 
  • Northwest African American Museum (9737)– We celebrate and explore the histories, arts, and cultures of people of African descent through exhibitions, programs and events. 

Vivecorp exercise classes will not be held the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas 

In response to employee requests, Balanced You, in partnership with Vivecorp, is offering ffering free, live, virtual exercise classes on Wednesday, Oct. 21. King County employees and anyone in their home, including children, are welcome to join. Classes will be hosted on Zoom and held on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at noon through December 2020. Visit this Balanced You blogpost for the class schedule and instructions on how to register and join.  

These classes will be not be held the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  

Please note: You will need to use Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your browser in order to sign up for the exercise classes.  Internet Explorer is not compatible with the Vivecorp site. 

Training Spotlight for November 19 

  • Communication and Problem Solving Skills – Online – Join instructor Lenny Borer for this two-day training. He 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 dealing with defensive behavior. This training is $65 and space is limited. It takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 8 and 9, both days from 1-4:30 p.m. Register here. 

Please visit our King County Eventbrite page website for more opportunities. For more information, contact the Learning and Development Team at KCTraining@kingcounty.gov or visit Learning and Development at www.kingcounty.gov/learning. 

Tech Tip: Skype Business to Teams migration chatting and instant messaging  

For the next year, as employees move to Microsoft Teams for County communications, many people will continue on Skype until they move. Did you know you can send Instant Messages between Skype and Teams?  

Below are instructions to send Instant Message between Skype and Teams.  

Once employees move to Teams, send a message, called Chats in Teams, to coworkers using Skype by simply looking them up and sending a message. They will receive the message in Skype. When they reply, it will show up in Teams for the original sender using Teams.  

Pro tips about chatting/instant messaging between Skype and Teams:  

  • Chats are limited to two people. That means group chats are not possible.   
  • Screen sharing is not possible between the platforms.  
  • To screenshare or have a group chat, schedule a meeting or use Meet Now, and invite your other party. Meet Now can be started from either Skype or Teams.  

For questions or concerns, visit the KCIT Helpdesk. 

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Job Type: Career Service, Part Time, Std Wkly Hrs Vary 

Department: DPH - Public Health 

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