WSR 99-05-071

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

(WorkFirst Division)

[ Filed February 17, 1999, 10:25 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-19-124.

Title of Rule: Amends WAC 388-310-300 Exemptions for mandatory participants, 388-310-400 First steps for mandatory participants, 388-310-500 Individual responsibility plan, 388-310-600 Job search, 388-310-700 Employability evaluation, 388-310-800 Support services, 388-310-900 Basic education, 388-310-1000 Vocational education, 388-310-1050 Job skills training, 388-310-1100 Work experience, 388-310-1200 On-the-job training, 388-310-1400 Community service, 388-310-1500 Employment conditions, 388-310-1600 Sanctions, 388-310-1700 Self employment, 388-310-1800 Post employment, and 388-310-1900 Services for American Indian tribal members and other American Indians.

Purpose: Shortens and simplifies language to bring it into compliance with Governor Locke's Executive Order 97-02.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.

Summary: Existing WAC was rewritten to shorten and simplify existing language into a question and answer format to bring it into compliance with Governor Locke's Executive Order 97-02.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Sandy Jsames, WorkFirst Division, P.O. Box 45480, Olympia, WA 98504-5480, (360) 413-3239, e-mail JSAMESSM@DSHS.WA.GOV, fax (360) 413-3482.

Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Amends existing language by using simpler, clearer language and a question and answer format to bring the rules into compliance with Governor Locke's Executive Order 97-02.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Language was shortened and simplified into a question and answer format in WAC 388-310-300 Exemptions for mandatory participants, 388-310-400 First steps for mandatory participants, 388-310-500 Individual responsibility plan, 388-310-600 Job search, 388-310-700 Employability evaluation, 388-310-800 Support services, 388-310-900 Basic education, 388-310-1000 Vocational education, 388-310-1050 Job skills training, 388-310-1100 Work experience, 388-310-1200 On-the-job training, 388-310-1400 Community service, 388-310-1500 Employment conditions, 388-310-1600 Sanctions, and 388-310-1900 Services for American Indian tribal members and other American Indians.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Changes do not affect small businesses.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. These changes do not meet the definition of significant legislative rules. Affected rules are being amended to shorten and simplify language in compliance with Executive Order 97-02.

Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on April 6, 1999, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Paige Wall by March 25, 1999, phone (360) 902-7540, TTY (360) 902-8324, e-mail pwall@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Paige Wall, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 902-8292, by April 6, 1999.

Date of Intended Adoption: April 7, 1999.

February 17, 1999

Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

2531.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-0300
WorkFirst--((Participation)) Exemptions for mandatory participants.

(1) ((All TANF and state family assistance (SFA) recipients who are sixteen years of age and older and all custodial parents are required to participate in WorkFirst unless exempted under subsection (2)(a) of this section.

(2) A person is exempt from WorkFirst participation requirements if:

(a) The person is needed in the home to personally provide care for a child under twelve months of age.

(b) The person may use this exempt status for a total of twelve months during the person's sixty-month lifetime limit for assistance.

(3) Persons who are exempt may volunteer to participate and will not be subject to sanction for subsequent refusal to participate if still eligible for the exemption)) If I am a mandatory participant, when can I be exempted from participating in WorkFirst activities?

You can claim an exemption from participating in WorkFirst activities during months that you are needed in the home to personally provide care for a child under twelve months of age. You can only claim this exemption for up to twelve months in your lifetime.

(2) Can I participate in WorkFirst while I am exempt?

You can participate in WorkFirst while you are exempt, and the time you participate does not count against your twelve-month limit. If you decide later to stop participating, and you still qualify for an exemption, you will be put back into exempt status with no financial penalty.

(3) Does an exemption from participation affect my sixty-month time limit for receiving TANF or SFA benefits?

An exemption from participation does not affect your sixty-month time limit for receiving TANF or SFA benefits. The sixty-month TANF/SFA time limit (described in WAC 388-484-0005) determines how many months you can receive any TANF or SFA assistance. The exemption from participation allows you to not participate for up to twelve of these sixty months, and still get a full grant.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-0300, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-23-037, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98)

WAC 388-310-0400
WorkFirst--((What are the initial requirements of a WorkFirst participant?)) First steps for mandatory participants.

(1) ((WorkFirst requires you to look for a job as your first activity unless you are temporarily deferred from job search. Reasons that you may be temporarily deferred from looking for a job are:

(a) You work twenty or more hours a week; "work" means to engage in any legal, income generating activity which is taxable under the United States Tax Code or which would be taxable with or without a treaty between an Indian Nation and the United States; or

(b) You are under the age of eighteen and have not completed high school or GED; or

(c) You are under the age of twenty, and are attending high school or an equivalent full-time; or

(d) Your situation prevents you from looking for a job (see WAC 388-310-1600).

(2) If and when your job search is temporarily deferred, you must take part in an evaluation of your employability as part of your individual responsibility plan (IRP).

(3) You must follow instructions from your case manager and/or job service specialist as written in your IRP.

(4) If you do not participate in job search, or in the activities listed in your IRP during your temporary deferral from job search, and you do not have a good reason, the department will impose a financial penalty, sometimes called a sanction)) What happens when I enter the WorkFirst program as a mandatory participant?

If you are a mandatory participant, WorkFirst requires you to look for a job as your first activity unless you are temporarily deferred from job search.

(2) May I be temporarily deferred from looking for a job?

If you are a mandatory participant, you may be temporarily deferred from looking for a job for any of the following reasons:

(a) You work twenty or more hours a week. "Work” means to engage in any legal, income generating activity which is taxable under the United States Tax Code or which would be taxable with or without a treaty between an Indian Nation and the United States; or

(b) You are under the age of eighteen, have not completed high school, GED or its equivalent and are in school full-time; or

(c) You are eighteen or nineteen years of age and are attending high school or an equivalent full-time; or

(d) Your situation prevents you from looking for a job. (For example, you may be unable to look for a job while you are homeless and/or dealing with family violence.)

(3) What are my requirements if I am temporarily deferred from job search?

If and when your job search is temporarily deferred, you must take part in an evaluation of your employability as part of your individual responsibility plan. Your individual responsibility plan will describe what you need to do to be able to enter job search and then find a job (see WAC 388-310-0500 and 0700).

(4) What other WorkFirst requirements must I follow while I am in job search or temporarily deferred from job search?

You must follow instructions as written in your individual responsibility plan (see WAC 388-310-0500) while you are in job search or temporarily deferred from job search.

(5) What happens if I do not follow my WorkFirst requirements?

If you do not participate in job search, or in the activities listed in your individual responsibility plan during your temporary deferral from job search, and you do not have a good reason, the department will impose a financial penalty (sanction, see WAC 388-310-1600).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and 74.08.090.  98-23-037, 388-310-0400, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-0400, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-23-037, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98)

WAC 388-310-0500
WorkFirst--((What is included in WorkFirst job search?)) Individual responsibility plan.

(1) ((Job search is an opportunity to learn and use skills you need to find and keep a job.  Job search may include:

(a) Classroom instruction; and/or

(b) Structured job search that helps you find job openings, complete applications, practice interviews and apply other skills and abilities with a job search specialist or a group of fellow job-seekers; and/or

(c) Pre-employment training, in which you learn skills you need for an identified entry level job that pays more than average entry level wages. Pre-employment training is an acceptable job search activity when an employer or industry commits to hiring or giving hiring preference to WorkFirst participants who successfully complete pre-employment training.

(2) WorkFirst job search is delivered by the employment security department or a contracted partner.

(3) Period of job search may last up to twelve continuous weeks. Job search specialists will monitor your progress, and by the end of the first four weeks, job search specialists will determine whether or not you should continue in job search. Job search will end when:

(a) You find a job; or

(b) You become exempt from WorkFirst requirements (see WAC 388-310-0300); or

(c) Your situation changes and you are temporarily deferred from continuing with job search (see WAC 388-310-0400); or

(d) Job search specialists have determined that you need additional skills and/or experience to find a job.

(4) At the end of the job search period, you will be referred back to your DSHS case manager for further action)) What is the purpose of my individual responsibility plan?

The purpose of your individual responsibility plan is to give you a written statement that describes:

(a) What your responsibilities are; and

(b) Which WorkFirst activities you are required to participate in; and

(c) What services you will receive so you are able to participate.

(2) What is included in my individual responsibility plan?

Your individual responsibility plan includes the following:

(a) What WorkFirst activities you must be engaged in, a start and end date for each activity and how many hours a week you must spend in each activity.

(b) Any other specific requirements that are tied to the WorkFirst work activity. For example, you might be required to learn English as part of your work experience activity.

(c) What services you need to participate in the activity. For example, you may require support services (such as help with paying for transportation) or help with paying childcare.

(d) Your statement that you recognize the need to become and remain employed as quickly as possible.

(3) How is my individual responsibility plan developed?

You and your case manager will work together to develop your individual responsibility plan and decide what activities will be included in it. Then, your case manager will assign you to specific WorkFirst activities that will help you find employment as quickly as possible.

(4) What happens after my individual responsibility plan is completed?

Once your individual responsibility plan is completed:

(a) You will sign and get a copy of your individual responsibility plan.

(b) Your and your case manager will review your plan as necessary over the coming months to make sure your plan continues to meet your employment needs. You will sign and get a copy of your individual responsibility plan every time it is reviewed and changed.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and 74.08.090.  98-23-037, 388-310-0500, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-0500, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-0600
WorkFirst--((Evaluation of employability)) Job search.

(1) ((A participant's employability will be evaluated by the department when:

(a) The person has not obtained paid, unsubsidized employment at the conclusion of job search; or

(b) The person was not referred for immediate job search.

(2) The purpose of the employability evaluation process is to determine:

(a) The reasons why a person is unable to find work in the local labor market; and

(b) Which WorkFirst components, support services, or child care services are needed by the participant to become employed in the shortest time possible.

(3) The evaluation will be focused on factors related to the person's ability to find and retain employment in the local labor market.

(4) Information gathered in the evaluation will be the basis for modifying the participant's individual responsibility plan)) What is job search?

Job search is an opportunity to learn and use skills you need to find and keep a job. Job search may include:

(a) Classroom instruction; and/or

(b) Structured job search that helps you find job openings, complete applications, practice interviews and apply other skills and abilities with a job search specialist or a group of fellow job-seekers; and/or

(c) Pre-employment training.

(2) What is pre-employment training?

Pre-employment training helps you learn skills you need for an identified entry level job that pays more than average entry level wages.

(a) Pre-employment training is an acceptable job search activity when an employer or industry commits to hiring or giving hiring preference to WorkFirst participants who successfully complete pre-employment training.

(b) You can find out about current pre-employment training opportunities by asking your job service specialist, your case manager or staff at your local community and technical college.

(3) Who provides me with job search?

Your get job search from the employment security department or another organization under contract with WorkFirst to provide these services.

(4) How long do I stay in job search?

Periods of job search may last up to twelve continuous weeks. Job search specialists will monitor your progress. By the end of the first four weeks, a job search specialist will determine whether you should continue in job search. Job search will end when:

(a) You find a job; or

(b) You become exempt from WorkFirst requirements (see WAC 388-310-0300); or

(c) Your situation changes and you are temporarily deferred from continuing with job search (see WAC 388-310-0400); or

(d) Job search specialists have determined that you need additional skills and/or experience to find a job; or

(e) You have not found a job at the end of the job search period.

(5) What happens at the end of job search if I’ve not found a job?

At the end of each job search period, you will be referred back to your case manager for an employability evaluation if you have not found a job. You and your case manager will also modify your individual responsibility plan.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-0600, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-0700
WorkFirst--((Individual responsibility plan)) Employability evaluation.

(1) ((The purpose of the individual responsibility plan is to set forth:

(a) The participant's responsibility to participate in the WorkFirst components as required;

(b) The services the department will provide to the person to enable the person to participate.

(2) The department and the participant will work together in the development and decision-making process for component assignment.  If needed, the department may assign the component which will provide the person with the job search, work experience, job skills, substance abuse assessment and treatment, family counseling, or family violence counseling or housing search, acquisition, and stabilization assistance as necessary to be employed in the shortest possible time.

(3) The plan includes the following:

(a) The WorkFirst component, in which participation is required, for what period of time and for how many hours a week;

(b) Any specific requirements relating to participation in the component;

(c) The services the department has determined are necessary for the person to participate in the component which may include provision of direct component cost funding, support services and child care subsidies.

(d) The participant's acknowledgment of their obligations to become and remain employed as quickly as possible.

(4) The department will review the elements in a participant's individual responsibility plan as necessary to ensure the plan continues to meet the person's employability needs.

(5) The participant will sign and receive a copy of their individual responsibility plan at the time the plan is developed and whenever the plan is modified)) Why do I receive an employability evaluation?

You receive an employability evaluation from your case manager to determine:

(a) Why you have been unable to find work in your local labor market; and

(b) Which WorkFirst activities you need to become employed in the shortest time possible.

(2) What is the employability evaluation and when will it be used?

(a) The employability evaluation is a series of questions and answers used to determine your ability to find and keep a job in your local labor market.

(b) You and your case manager and/or social worker will use the information from this evaluation to create or modify your individual responsibility plan, adding activities that will help you become employable.

(c) Your case manager will evaluate your ability to find employment when you are a mandatory WorkFirst participant and have:

(i) Gone through a period of job search without finding a job;

(ii) Been referred back early from job search; or

(iii) Been temporarily deferred from job search.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-0700, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-0800
WorkFirst--Support ((service and direct component cost funding)) services.

(1) ((The purpose of support service and direct component cost funding is to provide participants access to necessary goods or services which cannot be paid for by another funding source.

(2) The department or its agent will fund support services when:

(a) Determined necessary by the department or its agent;

(b) Denial would prevent participation in the required component; and

(c) It is within available funds.

(3) Support services which may be funded include:

(a) Employment related needs such as work clothing or uniforms, tools, equipment, relocation expenses, or fees;

(b) Transportation costs such as mileage reimbursement, public transportation vouchers, and car repair;

(c) Professional services such as certification or diagnostic testing, counseling or medical examinations or services;

(d) Personal needs such as clothing appropriate for job search or other component activities; and

(e) Special needs such as accommodations for employment.

(4) The department will provide support services and direct component cost funding to support components approved prior to the effective date of this chapter until June 30, 1998 if the participant is making satisfactory progress toward completion of the activity.

(5) WorkFirst participants are eligible for child care subsidy payments under chapter 388-290 WAC.

(6) No funds available to carry out the WorkFirst program may be used to assist, promote, or deter religious activity.

(7) The department may establish maximum funding limits for support services.

(8) The department may provide funding for direct component costs for vocational education activities when the participant:

(a) Is in an approved component as stated on the individual responsibility plan; and

(b) Does not qualify for sufficient student financial aid to meet the cost.

(9) Support services may be identified and provided in order to address specific needs American Indians may have due to location or employment needs.

(10) If the person is not participating as required they will lose eligibility for direct component costs and support services)) Why do I receive support services?

Support services help you participate in work and WorkFirst activities that lead to financial independence. You may also qualify for help in paying your child care expenses through the working connections child care assistance program. (Chapter 388-290 WAC describes the rules for this child care assistance program.)

(2) What support services may I receive?

You may receive support services, for example, for any of the following:

(a) Employment related needs such as work clothing or uniforms, tools, equipment, relocation expenses, or fees;

(b) Transportation costs such as mileage reimbursement, public transportation vouchers, and car repair;

(c) Professional services;

(d) Personal needs such as clothing appropriate for job search or other component activities;

(e) Special needs such as accommodations for employment;

(f) Identified specific needs due to location or employment if you are an American Indian;

(g) Job skills training, vocational education and/or basic education if:

(i) It is an approved activity in your individual responsibility plan; and

(ii) You do not qualify for sufficient student financial aid to meet the cost.

(3) When will I get support services?

The department or its agents will decide what support services you will receive, as follows:

(a) You need the support services to do the activities in your individual responsibility plan;

(b) It is within available funds; and

(d) It does not assist, promote, or deter religious activity.

(4) How much support services can I get?

The department publishes its guidelines and restrictions for the amount and type of support services you can get in the support services chapter of the WorkFirst Handbook. If you request support services from your case manager, you can:

(a) Ask to see a copy of these guidelines;

(b) Ask for an exception, if you are requesting more than the guidelines allow or asking for services or goods not mentioned in the guidelines; and/or

(c) Request a fair hearing, if your request for support services is denied.

(5) What happens to my support services if I do not participate as required?

The department will discontinue your support services until you participate as required.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-0800, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-0900
WorkFirst--Basic education.

(1) What is basic education?

Basic education is high school completion ((and)), classes to prepare for GED and testing to acquire GED certification.  It may include families that work, workplace basics, adult basic education (ABE) or English as a second language (ESL) training if:

(a) ((The ABE or ESL is needed by the person to meet the current standards of the local labor market; and

(b) The activity is combined with paid or unpaid employment or job search.

(2) The department may require a nonexempt custodial parent eighteen and nineteen years of age who lacks a high school diploma or GED certification to participate in basic education if such education is needed by the person to meet the current standards of the local labor market.

(3) Nonexempt participants twenty years of age and older may participate in basic education activities but must also participate in paid or unpaid employment or job search for a minimum of twenty hours a week in addition to the basic education.

(4) The department may require sixteen and seventeen year old TANF and SFA recipients to be in high school or GED certification programs)) It is determined you need this education to become employed or get a better job; and

(b) This activity is combined with paid or unpaid employment or job search.

(2) When do participate in basic education as part of WorkFirst?

Your may participate in basic education as part of WorkFirst under any of the following circumstances:

(a) You may choose to participate, if you are twenty years of age or older and are working in paid or unpaid employment or in job search for a minimum of twenty hours a week (in addition to the basic education).

(b) You may be required to participate if you are a mandatory participant, a parent eighteen or nineteen years of age, you do not have a high school diploma or GED certificate and you need this education in order to find employment.

(c) You will be required to be in high school or a GED certification program if you are a mandatory participant, sixteen or seventeen years old and you do not have a high school diploma or GED certificate.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-0900, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-23-037, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98)

WAC 388-310-1000
WorkFirst--((What are the requirements for)) Vocational education ((in WorkFirst?))

(1) What is vocational education?

Vocational education is training ((leading)) that leads to a degree or certificate in a specific occupation((,)) and is offered by an accredited:

(a) Public and private technical college((s and)) or school((s,));

(b) Community college((s, and)) or

(c) Tribal college((s)).

(2) ((WorkFirst)) When can vocational education be included in my individual responsibility plan?

We may ((include)) add vocational education ((in)) to your ((IRP)) individual responsibility plan if:

(a) You are working twenty or more hours a week; or

(b) You lack job skills that are in demand for entry level jobs in your area; and

(c) The vocational education program is the only way that you can ((provide)) acquire the job skills ((that)) you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area((; and

(d) You could not learn the job skills that you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area by participating in work experience or on-the-job training that is available to you)) (because there is no available work experience, pre-employment training or on-the-job training that can teach you these skills).

(3) ((When vocational education is included in your IRP, WorkFirst will provide assistance with your costs, if you need assistance and it is not available from other sources. Child care subsidy is available)) Can I get help with paying the costs of vocational education?

WorkFirst will pay for the costs of your vocational education, such as tuition or books, if vocational education is in your individual responsibility plan and there is no other way to pay them. You can also get help with paying your child care costs through the working connections child care program. (See chapter 388-290 WAC for the working connections child care program rules.).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and 74.08.090.  98-23-037, 388-310-1000, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-1000, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-23-037, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98)

WAC 388-310-1050
WorkFirst--((What are the requirements for)) Job skills training ((in WorkFirst?)).

(1) What is job skills training?

Job skills training is training in specific skills directly related to employment, ((offered through community-based organizations, businesses, tribal governments, public and private community and technical colleges)) but not tied to a specific occupation. Job skills training programs differ ((as to length, content, and sponsor)) in how long the course lasts, what skills are taught and who provides the training. The training may be offered by:

(a) Community based organizations;

(b) Businesses;

(c) Tribal governments; or

(d) Public and private community and technical colleges.

(2) ((WorkFirst)) When can job skills training be included in my individual responsibility plan?

We may ((include)) add job skills training in your ((IRP)) individual responsibility plan for the same reasons we would add vocational education. That is if:

(a) You are working twenty or more hours a week; or

(b) You lack job skills that are in demand for entry level jobs in your area; and

(c) The job skills training program is the only way you can ((provide)) acquire the job skills ((that)) you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area((; and

(d) You could not learn the job skills that you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area by participating in work experience or on-the-job training that is available to you)) (because there is no available work experience, pre-employment training, or on-the-job training that can teach you these skills).

(3) ((When job skills training is included in your IRP, WorkFirst will provide assistance with your costs, such as transportation and books, if you need assistance and it is not available from other sources. Child care subsidy is available)) Can I get help with paying the costs of job skills training?

WorkFirst will pay your costs, such as tuition or books, if job skills training is in your individual responsibility plan and there is no other way to pay them. You can also get help with paying your child care costs through the working connections child care program. (See chapter 388-290 WAC for the working connections child care program rules.)

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and 74.08.090.  98-23-037, 388-310-1050, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1100
WorkFirst--Work experience.

(1) What is work experience?

Work experience (sometimes called WEX) is ((unpaid work with a private nonprofit organization, federal, state, local or tribal government or district.  Entities providing WEX unpaid employment positions to WorkFirst participants must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal health and safety standards.

(2) The purpose of WEX is to provide the participant with instruction in essential work practices and to practice or expand work skills.

(3) Participant may be required to conduct a self-directed job search.

(4) Participants must accept offered paid employment while participating in WEX.

(5) A person's assignment to a specific WEX activity in excess of six months requires a department review.  The review will determine if the person requires more time to gain the skills and abilities established as the desired outcome of the WEX assignment)) an activity for mandatory participants that will teach you the basics of holding down a job and give you a chance to practice or expand your work skills. Work experience teaches you these skills by assigning you to unpaid work with:

(a) A private, nonprofit organization;

(b) A community or technical college; or

(c) A federal, state, local or tribal government or district.

(2) What happens when I am enrolled in a work experience activity?

When you are enrolled in a work experience activity:

(a) The organization, government or district that is supervising your work experience position must comply with all applicable state and federal health and safety standards while you are working there.

(b) You may be required to look for work on your own and must accept any paid employment you find that meets the criteria in WAC 388-310-1500.

(3) How long does a work experience assignment last?

Your case manager must review your work experience assignment if it lasts longer than six months. This review will determine whether you need more time to learn the skills and abilities that the work experience assignment was set up to teach you.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1100, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1200
WorkFirst--On-the-job training.

(1) What is on-the-job training?

On-the-job training (sometimes called OJT) is skills training provided by an employer at the ((employer's)) their place of business.  ((It may include some classroom training release time.

(2) A participant may be eligible for OJT employment if:

(a) The person lacks skills which are in demand in the local labor market; and

(b) There are employers in the area able to provide the training.

(3) An employer providing OJT may be reimbursed for up to fifty percent of the total gross wages for regular hours of work and pre-approved release time for training)) You are paid to both work and spend some time learning new skills to help you do your job better. You may receive the training at your job site or be sent to a classroom (using "release time” from your job) to get some of this training.

(2) When do I qualify for on-the-job training?

You may qualify for on-the-job employment if:

(a) You lack skills which are in demand in the local labor market; and

(b) There are employers in your area who can and will provide the training.

(3) Is my employer reimbursed for giving me on-the-job training?

Your employer may be reimbursed for giving you on-the-job training for up to fifty percent of your total gross wages for regular hours of work and pre-approved release time for training.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1200, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1400
WorkFirst--Community service ((program)).

(1) ((Community service is:

(a) Unpaid work performed for a charitable nonprofit organization, federal, state, local, or tribal government or district such as the work performed by volunteer workers; or

(b) An activity approved by the department which benefits the person, the person's family, or the person's community or tribe.  These activities may include traditional activities that perpetuate tribal culture and customs.

(2) Activities which may be approved by the department under subsection (1)(b) of this section as part of the individual responsibility plan include:

(a) Caring for a disabled family member;

(b) Nonparental caretaker relative over age fifty caring for a child;

(c) Provision of child care for a WorkFirst participant by a WorkFirst participant;

(d) Active participation in a drug or alcohol assessment or treatment program certified or contracted through chapter 70.96A RCW;

(e) Specialized services as required by the participant to become employable or retain employment such as family violence counseling or active participation in a drug or alcohol assessment or treatment program certified or contracted through chapter 70.96A RCW)) What is community service?

Community service includes two types of activities for mandatory participants:

(a) Unpaid work (such as the work performed by volunteer workers) that you perform for a charitable nonprofit organization, federal, state, local or tribal government or district; or

(b) An activity approved by your case manager which benefits you, your family, your community or your tribe. These activities may include traditional activities that perpetuate tribal culture and customs.

(2) What type of community services activities benefit me, my family, my community or my tribe and might be included in my individual responsibility plan?

The following types of community service activities benefit you, your family, your community or your tribe and might be included in your individual responsibility plan:

(a) Caring for a disabled family member;

(b) Caring for a child, if you are over fifty-five years old and receiving TANF or SFA assistance for the child as a relative (instead of as the child’s parent);

(c) Providing childcare for another WorkFirst participant who is doing community service;

(d) Actively participating in a drug or alcohol assessment or treatment program which is certified or contracted by the state under chapter 70.96A RCW; and/or

(e) Participating in family violence counseling or drug or alcohol treatment that will help you become employable or keep your job (this is called "specialized services” in state law).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1400, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1500
WorkFirst--Employment conditions.

(1) ((Participants will not be required to accept paid or unpaid employment or engage in an activity in which an employer-employee relationship exists which:

(a) Is not covered by industrial insurance under Title 51 RCW, unless the employee is employed by a tribal government or a tribal private, for-profit business;

(b) Is available because of a labor dispute;

(c) Has working hours or other conditions which interfere with the participant's bona fide religious beliefs or observations;

(d) Involves conditions which are in violation of federal, state or tribal health and safety standards;

(e) Has unreasonable work demands or conditions, such as working without getting paid on schedule with regard to paid work; or

(f) Participants will not be required to participate in unpaid work components for more hours than would equal the family's TANF/SFA grant divided by state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.  For two-parent families in which both parents are nonexempt, the combined hours of required participation in unpaid work may not exceed the family's TANF/SFA grant divided by the higher of the state or federal minimum wage.

(2) Participants will not be required to accept paid employment when the conditions of employment or the employer:

(a) Pays less than the federal, state, or tribe minimum wage, whichever is higher;

(b) Does not provide unemployment compensation coverage under Title 50 RCW, unless the employee is employed by a tribal government, tribal private for-profit business or the employee is exempt under section 7873 of the Internal Revenue Code because the person is a treaty fishing rights related worker;

(c) Requires the person to resign from or refrain from joining a legitimate labor organization; or

(d) Does not provide benefits to participants equal to those provided to other similarly employed workers.

(3) Nothing contained herein shall be in violation of federal or tribal employment laws)) If I am a mandatory participant, are there any limitations on the type of paid or unpaid employment I must accept?

If you are a mandatory participant, you must accept paid or unpaid employment (including any activity in which an employer-employee relationship exists) unless the employment:

(a) Is not covered by industrial insurance (described in state law under Title 51 RCW) unless you are employed by a tribal government or a tribal private for-profit business;

(b) Is available because of a labor dispute;

(c) Has working hours or conditions that interfere with your religious beliefs or practices (and a reasonable accommodation cannot be made);

(d) Does not meet federal, state or tribal health and safety standards; or

(e) Has unreasonable work demands or conditions, such as working for an employer who does not pay you on schedule.

(2) Are there any additional limitations on when I can be required to accept paid employment?

You must accept paid employment unless the job or the employer:

(a) Pays less than the federal, state, or tribe minimum wage, whichever is higher;

(b) Does not provide unemployment compensation coverage (described in state law under Title 50 RCW) unless you:

(i) Work for a tribal government or tribal for-profit business; or

(ii) Are a treaty fishing rights related worker (and exempt under section 7873 of the internal revenue code);

(c) Requires you to resign or refrain from joining a legitimate labor organization; or

(d) Does not provide you benefits that are equal to those provided to other workers employed in similar jobs.

(3) How many hours of unpaid employment can I be required to perform?

You can be required to work a set number of hours of unpaid employment each month. The number of hours required will not be more than your TANF, SFA or GA-S cash grant divided by the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

(4) What safeguards are in place to make sure I am not used to displace currently employed workers?

The following safeguards are in place to make sure you are not used to displace currently employed workers:

(a) You cannot be required to accept paid or unpaid employment which:

(i) Results in another employee's job loss, reduced wages, reduced hours of employment or overtime or lost employment benefits;

(ii) Impairs existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements;

(iii) Puts you in a job or assignment, or uses you to fill a vacancy, when:

(A) Any other person is on lay off from the same (or very similar) job within the same organizational unit; or

(B) An employer ends the job of a regular employee (or otherwise reduces its workforce) so you can be hired.

(iv) Reduces current employees' opportunities for promotions.

(b) If a regular employee believes your subsidized or unpaid work activity (such as a community jobs or work experience position) violates any of the rules described above, this employee (or his or her representative) has the right to:

(i) A grievance procedure (described in WAC 388-200-1100); and

(ii) A fair hearing (described in chapter 388-08 WAC).

(5) What other rules apply specifically to subsidized or on-the-job training positions?

If you are in a subsidized or on-the-job training position:

(a) WorkFirst state agencies must stop paying your wage or on-the-job training subsidy to your employer if your employer's worksite or operation becomes involved in a strike, lockout or bona fide labor dispute.

(b) If your wage subsidy or on-the-job training agreement is ended (and we stop paying any subsidies to your employer) because you were used to displace another employee, it will be up to you and the employer to decide whether you can (or want to) keep working there.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1500, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-23-037, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98)

WAC 388-310-1600
WorkFirst--((What are the WorkFirst participation requirements and what happens when a person does not participate?)) Sanctions.

(1) ((To participate means that you give the department information requested from you, come to appointments made for you by the department and its agents, do all of the activities listed on your IRP and accept any bona fide offer of employment that you receive.

(2) If you do not participate, WorkFirst will ask you to explain why. The department will determine that:

(a) You had an adequate reason that you were not able to participate; or

(b) You did not have an adequate reason and that you refused to participate.

If the department is not able to contact you, the department will make this decision with the information already on hand.

(3) You have an adequate reason not to participate when you can show that an event outside of your control made you unable to participate. Such events include, but are not limited to:

(a) You, your child(ren), or other family member was ill;

(b) Support services (such as transportation) broke down and you could not make new arrangements right away;

(c) You could not locate care for your child(ren) under thirteen years that is affordable, appropriate, and within a reasonable distance;

"Affordable" means at or below your share of child care costs calculated by the working connections child care program.

"Appropriate" means licensed, certified or approved under state laws and regulations that apply to the type of child care you use, and that you may make your own choice among the child care options that are available in your area.

"Within a reasonable distance" means that you can reach the child care site without travel that exceeds normal expectations in your community.

(d) You could not locate other care services for an incapacitated individual living with you and your dependent child(ren);

(e) You have or had a physical, mental, or emotional condition, determined by a licensed health care professional, that interferes or interfered with your ability to participate;

(f) A significant person in your life died;

(g) You were threatened with or subjected to family violence;

(h) You had received an eviction notice or had another immediate legal problem;

(i) You did not receive notice of a request for information, an appointment or a requirement on your IRP.

(4) If you have an adequate reason that you did not participate, the department will revise your IRP to take your circumstances into account.

(5) If you do not have an adequate reason that you did not participate, the department will find that you refused to participate. The department will notify you that you will be sanctioned starting the next calendar month (see WAC 388-310-1700), unless you start to participate as required. The notice will include information on how to request a fair hearing if you disagree with the department's decision that you refused to participate)) What is a sanction and when is it used?

A sanction is a penalty that alters your grant when you refuse to:

(a) Give the department the information we need to develop your individual responsibility plan;

(b) Come to scheduled appointments with people who provide WorkFirst services or activities;

(c) Do all of the activities listed on your individual responsibility plan; or

(d) Accept paid employment that meets the criteria in WAC 388-310-1500.

(2) What happens once I do not provide information, go to an appointment, follow my individual responsibility plan or accept a job?

If you do not provide information, go to an appointment, follow up on your individual responsibility plan or accept a job, your case manager or social worker will send you a notice to set up an appointment so they can talk to you about the situation. If they are unable to contact you, they will use the information already on hand to find out why you did not follow through with the required activity. Then, your case manager will decide whether:

(a) You were unable to do what was required; or

(b) You were able, but refused, to do what was required.

(3) What is considered a good reason for not being able to do what WorkFirst requires?

You have a good reason if it was not possible to follow through on a required activity due to an event outside of your control. Some examples of good reasons may include:

(a) You, your children or other family members were ill;

(b) Your transportation or child care arrangements broke down and you could not make new arrangements in time to comply;

(c) You could not locate child care, for your children under thirteen years, that was:

(i) Affordable (did not cost you more than your co-payment would under the working connections child care program in WAC 388-290);

(ii) Appropriate (licensed, certified or approved under federal, state or tribal law and regulations for the type of care you use and you were able to choose, within locally available options, who would provide it); and

(iii) Within a reasonable distance (within reach without traveling farther than is normally expected in your community).

(d) You could not locate other care services for an incapacitated person who lives with you and your children;

(e) You had a physical, mental or emotional condition, confirmed by a licensed health care professional, that interfered with your ability to participate;

(f) A significant person in your life died;

(g) You were threatened with or subjected to family violence;

(h) You had an immediate legal problem, such as an eviction notice; or

(i) You did not get notice telling you about our information request, an appointment or a requirement on your individual responsibility plan.

(4) What if my case manager decides that I refused to meet WorkFirst requirements without good reason?

If your case manager decides you refused to meet WorkFirst requirements without good reason, they will send you a notice that tells you:

(a) What you refused to do;

(b) You will be sanctioned (a penalty will be applied to your grant);

(c) When the sanction starts;

(d) How to request a fair hearing if you disagree with this decision; and

(e) How to "cure" the sanction.

(5) What are the penalties to my grant?

The following penalties are applied to your grant for anyone who is sanctioned in your household:

(a) In the first month, we calculate your family’s grant and then remove the noncompliant person(s) share of the grant.

(b) In the second month, your reduced grant will be sent to a protective payee every month until the sanction is lifted. (WAC 388-460-0001 describes the protective payee rules.)

(c) In the third and following months, your grant is reduced by the person(s) share or forty percent, whichever is more.

(6) How do I stop (or "cure”) the sanction?

To "cure” your sanction:

(a) You must provide the information we requested to develop your individual responsibility plan; and/or

(b) Start and continue to do your required WorkFirst activities.

(c) Your grant will be restored after two weeks of participation, going back to the day you began doing your required activities.

(7) What happens if I get sanctioned again (after your sanction has been stopped?

If you are sanctioned again, the sanction process will start again.

(8) What if I reapply for TANF, SFA or GA-S and I was in sanction when my case closed?

You are still sanctioned at the level which was in effect when your case closed until you cure your sanction.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and 74.08.090.  98-23-037, 388-310-1600, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-1600, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1700
WorkFirst--((Sanctions)) Self-employment.

(1) ((Refusal to participate will result in sanction.

(2) Sanction for refusing to participate will affect the family's TANF/SFA grant as follows:

(a) For the first month a person is sanctioned the family's TANF/SFA grant amount (less any income deductions) will be reduced by the participant's share.

(b) For second and subsequent months of continuous sanction status a protective payee will be established for reduced grant amount established under subsection (2)(a) of this section.

(c) For the third and subsequent months of continuous sanctions status the family's grant (less any income deductions) will be reduced by the amount established under subsection (2)(a) of this section or by forty percent whichever is higher.  The protective payee will continue.

(3) The department will restore the full TANF/SFA grant amount retroactive to the day the participant begins or resumes participation in the component specified on the person's individual responsibility plan when the person meets participation requirements for the component for a minimum of two weeks)) What is self-employment?

When you work for yourself and do not have an employer, you are self-employed.

(2) When can I be deferred from job search to pursue self-employment?

(a) To be deferred from job search for self-employment, you must meet all the conditions below:

(i) You must be working at least twenty hours a week at your business;

(ii)Your business must generate income for you that is equal to the minimum wage (state or federal, whichever is higher) times twenty hours per week after your business expenses are subtracted.

(iii) Your case manager will refer you to a local business resource center, and they must approve your self-employment plan;

(b) If you do not meet all these conditions, you can still be self-employed, but you will also need to participate in job search or other WorkFirst activities.

(3) What self-employment services can I get?

If you are a mandatory participant and have an approved self-employment plan in your individual responsibility plan, you may get the following self-employment services:

(a) A referral to community resources for technical assistance with your business plan.

(b) Small business training courses through local community organizations or technical and community colleges.

(c) Information on affordable credit, business training and ongoing technical support.

(4) What support services may I receive?

If you have an approved self-employment plan in your individual responsibility plan all support services are available.

(5) Can I get childcare?

Childcare is available if you have an approved self-employment plan in your individual responsibility plan. (See chapter 388-290 WAC for working connections child care rules.)

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1700, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1800
WorkFirst--((Displacement of regular employees)) Post employment services.

(1) ((A person is not required to participate in subsidized employment or unpaid work activities which:

(a) Result in the displacement of any currently employed worker including partial displacement, such as reduction in hours of overtime or nonovertime work, reduction in wages, or employment benefits;

(b) Impair existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements;

(c) Result in the employment or assignment of a participant or the filling of a position when:

(i) Any other person is on layoff from the same or a substantially equivalent job within the same organizational unit; or

(ii) An employer has created a vacancy for the purpose of hiring a WorkFirst participant by terminating any regular employee or otherwise reduced its workforce.

(d) Infringe on promotional opportunities of any currently employed person.

(2) The department will terminate wage subsidy program or OJT payments to an employer if the employer's worksite or operation becomes involved in a strike, lockout, or bona fide labor dispute.

(3) When a wage subsidy program or OJT agreement has been terminated and payment to the employer discontinued due to displacement of a regular employee, the WorkFirst participant's continued employment with that employer is at the sole discretion of the person and the employer.

(4) A regular employee (or the employee's representative) of an employer which has hired a WorkFirst participant into a subsidized or unpaid work activity who believes the participant's work activity violates any of the provisions under this section has the right to:

(a) A grievance procedure under WAC 388-200-1100; and

(b) A fair hearing under chapter 388-08 WAC)) What is the purpose of post employment services?

Post employment services help low-income parents who are working twenty hours or more a week keep and cope with their current jobs, look for better jobs, gain work skills for a career and become self sufficient.

(2) How do I obtain post employment services?

(a) You can obtain post employment services by:

(i) Asking for a referral from the local community service office;

(ii) Contacting community or technical colleges; or

(iii) Contacting the employment security department. Employment security department staff may also telephone you if you got a job while you were on TANF or SFA to see if you are interested in receiving these services.

(b) You may qualify for different services (from various state or federal programs) depending on whether you:

(i) Are a mandatory participant (that is, you currently receive TANF, SFA or GA-S benefits);

(ii) Used to receive TANF or SFA benefits; or

(iii) Have never been on TANF or SFA.

(3) Who provides post employment services and what kind of services do they provide?

(a) Your WorkFirst case manager can refer you to employment retention services, that will help you develop the skills you need to keep your job. An employment retention specialist will contact you on a regular basis to:

(i) Help you resolve problems with your employer;

(ii) Help you adjust to your workplace;

(iii) Provide job coaching; and/or

(iv) Provide mentoring.

(b) The employment security department can help you increase your wages, increase your job skills or find a better job by providing you with:

(i) Employment and career counseling;

(ii) Labor market information;

(iii) Job leads for a better job (sometimes called job development);

(iv) On the job training;

(v) Help with finding a job that matches your interests, abilities and skills (sometimes called job matching); and

(vi) Help with finding a new job after job loss (sometimes called reemployment).

(c) Technical and community colleges can approve a skill-training program for you that will help you advance up the career ladder. Their staff will talk to you, help you decide what training would work best for you and then help you get enrolled in these programs. The college may approve the following types of training for you:

(i) High School/GED,

(ii) Vocational education training,

(iii) Job Skills Training,

(iv) Adult Basic Education,

(v) English-as-a-Second Language training; or

(vi) Pre-employment training.

(4) What other services are available while you receive post employment services?

While you receive post employment services, you may qualify for:

(a) Working connections childcare if you meet the criteria for this program (described in chapter 388-290 WAC). To qualify, you must also be in an approved post-employment service and your family’s income cannot exceed one hundred seventy-five percent of the federal poverty level.

(b) Other support services, such as help in paying for transportation or work expenses.

(c) Other types of assistance for low-income families such as food stamps, medical assistance or help with getting child support that is due to you and your children.

(5) Who is eligible for post employment service, support services and childcare?

You may qualify for post-employment services, support services and child care if you are working twenty hours or more a week, and:

(a) You are current TANF or SFA recipient. You qualify for:

(i) All types of post employment services, unless you are in sanction status;

(ii) Tuition assistance from the community and technical college system;

(iii) WorkFirst support services; and

(iv) Working connections childcare.

(b) You are a former TANF or SFA recipient. You qualify for:

(i) Employment retention services (help with keeping a job) for up to twelve months following TANF or SFA.

(ii) Wage and skill progression services (help with finding a better job) for up to twenty four months after exiting TANF or SFA.

(iii) Tuition assistance or pre-employment training from the community and technical college system;

(iv) Working connections childcare assistance; and/or

(v) WorkFirst support services for up to twelve months after exiting TANF or SFA.

(c) You are a low wage earner (that is, your family income does not exceed one hundred seventy-five percent of the federal poverty level) who has never received TANF or SFA benefits, and are in a community or technical college-approved skill training program. You may qualify for:

(i) Tuition assistance or pre-employment training from the community and technical college system; or

(ii) Working connections child care while you are in training or school for up to a total of thirty six months.

(6) What if I lose my job while I am receiving post employment services?

If you now receive or used to receive TANF or SFA, help is available to you for up to four weeks so that you can find another job and continue in your approved post employment.

(a) The employment security department will provide you with re-employment services.

(b) At the same time, your case manager can approve up to four weeks of support services and childcare for you.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1800, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)

WAC 388-310-1900
WorkFirst--Services for American Indian tribal members and other American Indians.

(1) ((The department will refer American Indian TANF applicants and recipients to the person's tribe, according to populations and service area(s) specified by a tribal government for comparable WorkFirst services when:

(a) The tribal government operates a federally-approved Tribal TANF program; and

(b) The person is included in the population and service area identified by the tribal government in the plan)) When might I be referred to a tribal government?

Your case manager may refer you to a tribal government when you are an American Indian who applies for or receives TANF assistance, and:

(a) You are in the population and service area identified in a tribal government’s federally-approved tribal TANF program; or

(b) The tribal government does not operate its own TANF program, but it works with the local community service office to provide WorkFirst services and activities to meet your needs .

(2) ((All other American Indian TANF recipients have equitable access to)) What if I am an American Indian and am not referred to a tribal TANF program or tribal government to receive services?

WorkFirst ((program components and services under this chapter)) state agencies and their community partners must give you equitable access to all WorkFirst activities and services.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050.  97-20-129, 388-310-1900, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office