Employee News - December 15, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



Video: COVID-19 vaccine planning update from Dr. Jeff Duchin

With COVID-19 cases surging in King County, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin shared the most recent data and responded to questions from the media and the community about vaccine planning and how we can all help stop slow the spread during the holiday season. 

Dr Duchin update December 11 2020


Emergency Leave

Please consider donating to the Emergency Leave Program as new COVID-19 cases reach all-time highs

The Emergency Leave Donation Program was developed to aid employees who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 and have exhausted their paid leave. Access to donated leave has helped them focus on recovering their health or caring for loved ones. So far this year, nearly 300 employees have generously donated personal leave to support their colleagues.   

The program is asking employees to again consider donating personal leave to the program, as the paid leave available is running low. Donating leave is an especially good option for employees who may find themselves in a “use-it-or-lose-it” position with an excess vacation balance at the end of the year.

Employees interested in supporting colleagues affected by COVID-19 can donate accrued sick and vacation leave can either use PeopleSoft to make donations (learn how) or email the Emergency Leave Donation Form to EmergencyDonation@kingcounty.gov.


Get help correcting your at-home ergonomics 

With many King County employees working remotely through the pandemic, and potentially beyond, you may find yourself missing your perfectly adjusted ergonomic workstation in the office.  

King County has certified ergonomists in the Department of Human Resources (DHR) that can provide assessments for your at-home workstation. They can’t come to your home, but a virtual assessment can help pinpoint issues and save you pain down the road.  

“It’s not too late; even if it’s been several months since you started working from home, you should assess any new workstation,” Rob Stafford, Safety & Health Professional with DHR, said. Read more. 


Your vision benefits don't expire at year-end  

If you’re panicking because your regular vision provider has been closed or is booked solid during the long COVID-19 pandemic, fear not; your vision benefits, through Vision Service Plan (VSP), make it easy for you to get the eye care you need. And best of all… vision benefits are calculated on a rolling 12-24 month period, as follows, meaning you don’t need to rush out before year-end.  

You may use any eye care provider you want, but if you see a VSP provider, your out-of-pocket expenses are generally lower and the provider automatically files your claim. Kaiser Permanente provides routine vision exams under its medical plan, but none of the other vision benefits, such as frames, lenses, and contacts. 

For more information, go to the Dental & Vision Plans page contact your Benefits team at 206-684-1556 or kc.benefits@kingcounty.gov. 

Skiier Snoqualmie

Summit at Snoqualmie discount ski and snowboard tickets program on pause 

The Summit at Snoqualmie has paused their discount program, due to COVID-19 and Washington State guidelines. For season passes, sales will be significantly limited, and discounts for partners, such as King County, will not be offered. For daily lift tickets, sales will begin in the coming weeks, and partner discounts will not be available until early to mid-January. The Summit at Snoqualmie advises guests to make reservations early; expect reservations for popular holiday and weekend dates to sell out quickly. 

Please make all reservations online in advance at www.summitatsnoqualmie.com. Reservations will not be processed over the phone and tickets, rentals, lessons or activities can't be purchased onsite. In addition to daily lift tickets, the Summit at Snoqualmie requires online advanced reservations for all Summit activities including: lessons, equipment rentals, snow tubing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. For more information about COVID-19 rules and protocols, visit the Summit at Snoqualmie COVID-19 website. 

Mask in tree

Planning holidays during a pandemic 

Planning holidays during a pandemic is a tough feat. While news of COVID-19 vaccines brings a welcome light at the end of the tunnel, we still need to follow social distancing and mask recommendations until the vaccine is available to try to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our community safe. 

To help employees safely navigate the holiday season, Balanced You has put together a list of resources and tips for fun and meaningful ways to celebrate. Click here for more information. 

Stressed woman

Stress less this holiday season  

The holiday season will look different for many people this year. Many of us will still find ways to cultivate joy and cherish time with loved ones, whether virtually or safely in-person. Many of us will also undergo sadness and fatigue from experiencing holidays during a pandemic. Balanced You and King County’s Making Life Easier program offer the following recommendations so you can enjoy the season to the fullest.  

Read this Balanced You blogpost for more information. 

Making Life Easier webinars for the holiday season 

King County employees can choose from these upcoming live and on-demand webinars. Register early for the live session as space is limited; otherwise, the recording will be available on-demand 48 hours after the live session.  

  • Navigating Grief During the Holiday Season 
    Wednesday, Dec. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. Register here.  
  • Moving Forward From Here: Navigating Uncertain Times
    Available on-demand. Register here.  
  • Supporting Yourself This Season: The Winter Blues & Seasonal Affective Disorder, Available on-demand. Register here.  

To learn more about these webinars, login to kcmakinglifeeasier.com with your username: King County, click on the Current Featured Webinars banner on the home page.


Hope and Joy Campaign: December 16 Coffee Connection 

As part of the Hope and Joy Campaign, the Balanced You team is hosting a series of virtual zoom sessions, called “Coffee Connections”, to provide spaces for employees to connect over fun topics and events. The second Coffee Connection’s theme is “Quarantine Holiday Celebrations”  Join us then to share the unique way you and your family will celebrate the holidays this year. It will be held on December 16, from 10-10:30 a.m. Click here to Register 

You can check out other upcoming Coffee Connections on the Balanced You Blog here. 

Training Spotlight: Mentorship Lunch and Learn – Online

Would you like to have a mentor, someone who can help you grow professionally? Do you want to strengthen your coaching skills? As a Mentee, you will have a trusted advisor who can help you navigate complex situations, and as a Mentor, you can uncover new or forgotten skills and build influence. This Lunch and Learn is free and the next session is on Thursday, Dec. 17, from noon to 1 p.m. Register Here 

Please visit our King County Eventbrite website and our Learning and Development 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: An important reminder about Microsoft Skype and Teams instant messages (chats)  

Instant messages in Teams, called Chatsdon’t instantly disappear when you close the Chat window—they’re typically held for 24 hours or more before deletion. That means they can be subject to Public Disclosure Requests during that time. Some chats last for up to a week, but KCIT is working on the issue. Even if youre still using Skype, any IMs with coworkers on Teams will also be retained for 24 hours or more on their side.  

Remember: You may recall that our guidance for using Skype instant messages has always been “Don’t conduct work in instant messages.” The same is true in Teams Chats. They should only be used for transitory communication. 

What does this mean for you? 

  • When you move to Teams for your calls, meetings and IMs/chats (this year for most of us)use Chats only for transitory communication such as “Ready for that coffee now?” and Hey, are you going to join our meeting?” 
  • Posts in Teams Channels, on the other hand, are kept as part of the Teams site and are a great place to communicate important informationIf you don’t know about those yet, don’t worry! Learn about posts and other great Teams collaboration features here. 
  • Keep in mind: since posts are retained, and Chats are automatically held for 24 hours or longerboth are subject to public disclosure and a hold may be placed on these communicationsKeep it professional, as always! 

Featured Job: Government Relations Administrator – Special Duty 

Salary: $112,740 - $142,905 Annually  

Location: Seattle, WA  

Job TypeSpecial Duty – 6 months 

DepartmentDNRP – Natural Resources & Parks, Solid Waste 

Job Number: 2020-PM12579 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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