Accessing leave, including federal leave, during COVID-19
King County’s Temporary Leave and Telecommuting Policy, which applies to Executive Branch employees, sets out procedures for leave usage during the COVID-19 outbreak. Some employees have asked about the recently announced Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and expanded FMLA Public Health Emergency Leave. Please see the following guidance provided in the Temporary Leave and Telecommuting Policy for Executive Branch employees (Employees in other branches of County government will receive guidance from their leaders [definition below]):
People who are sick with COVID-19 or taking care of people with COVID-19 need to first use leave accruals. Effective April 1, 2020, these employees may also use Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave (FEPSL).
- Employees must first use their own leave accruals (sick, vacation, executive leave, comp. time, and BTO). Once they’ve used their accruals and two weeks of emergency donated leave, if available, then the employee would be provided COVID-19 leave.
- Full-time employees may also choose to use up to 80 hours of Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave (FEPSL). Part-time employees are eligible for a prorated amount based on their average hours worked over a two-week period.
- FEPSL is available to all employees who meet one of the six eligibility requirements below. FEPSL is in addition the County’s paid leaves. Employees cannot be required to use other types of leave before they use FEPSL.
- Employees are eligible for FESPL if they:
- Are subject to a local, state or federal quarantine order related to COVID-19;
- Have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
- Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Are caring for an individual who is self-isolating for one of the reasons described in (1) or (2) above;
- Are caring for their minor child whose school has been closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19; or
- Are experiencing any other “substantially similar condition” specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
- For all six reasons above, the County will be more generous than required under federal law and pay full-time employees up to 80 hours of FEPSL in the same way that employees are currently paid when they use their sick leave. Part-time employees are eligible for a prorated amount based on their average hours worked over a two-week period.
- FEPSL expires December 31, 2020.
Employees who are home because their child’s school or childcare facility is closed and the employee is unable to work or telecommute, must first use their leave accruals. Effective April 1, these employees may also use Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave (FEPSL), or the expanded FMLA Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL). Because PHEL is an expansion of FMLA, the 12-week total annual entitlement for FMLA still applies.
- Employees who need to care for a child under the age of 18 due to closure of the child’s school or childcare facility can use FEPSL. See 1.b.5.
- In addition, these employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of protected PHEL, if they have worked for the County for at least 30 days.
- This includes short-term temporary employees.
- The first 10 days of PHEL are unpaid; however, the employee may use any other available paid leave (including the FEPSL discussed in 1.b above).
- After 10 days, the employee is entitled to two-thirds of their regular rate of pay during the leave, up to a maximum of $200/day and $10,000 total.
- Pay is calculated based on the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work. For employees with varied schedules, the hours are determined based on the average number of hours scheduled over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the leave starts, including any leave hours; or based on a reasonable expectation at the time of hiring.
Additional guidance will provided as conditions warrant. Employees can get complete guidance in the Temporary Leave and Telecommuting Policy, and can contact their Human Resources Manager.
Executive Branch departments: Department of Assessments, Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Department of Executive Services, Department of Community and Human Services, Department of Human Resources, Department of Judicial Administration, Department of Local Services, Department of Metro Transit, Department of Natural Resources and Park, Department of Public Defense, Department of Public Health, Executive Department, King County Elections, King County Information Technology (KCIT), King County Sheriff’s Office (The King County Sheriff’s Office is administered by the King County Sheriff).
Other branches of County government: District Court, King County Council, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Superior Court.