EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
[Filed June 30, 2020, 7:59 a.m., effective June 30, 2020, 7:59 a.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: The employment security department is adopting this emergency rule to provide relief from unemployment benefit charges for employers who had employees collect unemployment benefits because the employee received a direct request from a medical professional, local health official or the secretary of health to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if the employee was not actually diagnosed with COVID-19. Unemployment benefits paid to these individuals will not be charged to the experience rating account of their employers and will not count against their employer's in the calculation of their tax rates in future years.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: New WAC 192-320-071.
Other Authority: Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 13-20, Change 1.
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest; and that state or federal law or federal rule or a federal deadline for state receipt of federal funds requires immediate adoption of a rule.
Reasons for this Finding: In Proclamation 20-05, Governor Inslee proclaimed a State of Emergency in Washington regarding COVID-19. The proclamation directs agencies and departments to support the department of health and local officials in alleviating the impacts to people, property, and infrastructure across the state. Additionally, §§ 4102 and 4105 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, P.L. 116-127, offers states additional funds to administer their state unemployment insurance programs and to reimburse states for extended unemployment benefits paid for a limited period if the state takes steps "to ease eligibility requirements and access to unemployment compensation for claimants, including … non-charging employers directly impacted by COVID-19 due to an illness in the workplace or direction from a public health official to isolate or quarantine workers." Therefore, without this rule, Washington would not have access to additional federal funds to administer the unemployment insurance program and pay extended benefits to the long-term unemployed.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: June 30, 2020.
WAC 192-320-071Directions to isolate or quarantine workers.
For the purposes of RCW 50.29.021
(4)(a)(i) for claims of benefits for weeks on or after March 1, 2020, an employee will be deemed to have "last left the employ of such employer voluntarily for reasons not attributable to the employer" if the employee left the employ of an employer due to a direct request from a medical professional, local health official, or the secretary of health to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if the employee has not been actually diagnosed with COVID-19.