Washington is acting quickly during this state of emergency to ensure supports are available to help workers and families. We believe that hospitals should provide affected employees with paid administrative leave but in the absence of those benefits, there are state resources available.
Available resources through L&I #
- Workers’ compensation will now cover quarantined health workers and first responders.
- Benefits will be provided during the time of quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 on the job.
- Time-loss payments may be allowed for lost wages during the quarantine period (up to 14 days).
- Once a claim is accepted, the insurer will pay for treatment of COVID-19. Currently, the only treatment for this new coronavirus is supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
- The first three days are not paid unless the worker is medically required to remain off work on the 14th day of quarantine.
Paid family and medical leave #
- Quarantine, school closures, and childcare closures are not currently qualifying events.
- If you can provide medical certification of COVID-19 (i.e., test results) you may apply for the program – medical certification can be done electronically.
- Some union members are not eligible for PFML and instead are subject to their collective bargaining agreements. This includes unions that have collective bargaining agreements that haven’t been re-opened, renegotiated, or have expired since October 19, 2017. Ask your employer or union representative if you are unsure if this applies to you.
Available resources through Employment Security Department #
- Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if a worker becomes sick due to COVID-19.
- Standby will be available for part-time workers as well as full-time workers, if they meet the minimum 680 hours.
- Workers that are asked to isolate or quarantine by a medical professional or public health official as a result of exposure to COVID-19 may receive unemployment benefits and work search requirements could be waived, so long as they have a return date with their employer. The return to work date can be the date the isolation or quarantine is lifted.
- If a worker falls seriously ill and is forced to quit, they cannot collect unemployment benefits while they are seriously ill but may be eligible once they recover and are able and available for work.
Available resources through The Office of the Insurance Commissioner #
- The Insurance Commissioner issued an emergency order to Washington state health insurers requiring them to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing (www.doh.wa.gov) for coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Insurers also must allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs and suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19.
- If an insurer does not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing and treatment for COVID-19, it must allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost.