Boeing and Alaska Airlines AnnounceD Layoffs

Both Boeing and Alaska Airlines announced layoffs due, in large part, to the downturn in air travel as a result of the pandemic.

Boeing Layoffs

We wrote a prior article about the initial rounds of layoffs and incentivized early retirements at Boeing. Now, a new round of layoffs has been announced.

Boeing notified Washington State through its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) system of the upcoming layoffs. Effective October 2, 2020, it is reported that another 940 employees will face permanent layoff.

These additional layoffs coincided with the news that the FAA is finalizing its plan for the return of Boeing’s 737 MAX to service.

The Aerospace Machinists union, IAM 751, states that about 1/3 of their members that received WARN letters were reWARNs, meaning the member was already holding a WARN notice, effectively extending their layoff date to October 2nd from their earlier notice.

Alaska Airlines Layoffs

The Hill reported on the recent WARN notice from Alaska Airlines, excerpted below. Read the full post, here.

Alaska Airlines warned that almost 1,600 Washington state employees could be permanently laid off in the fall. The airline plans to begin letting a portion of its employees go, starting on Oct. 1, the day after the government’s Payroll Support Program terminates.

The expected layoffs in Washington state represent 20 percent of Alaska Airlines’s workforce in the area, including customer service agents, maintenance technicians and flight attendants. 

The Seattle Times also reported on the fact that Boeing and Alaska Airlines announced layoffs. Read the full report about Alaska Airlines, excerpted below, here.

Alaska avoided layoffs among its pilots when it offered incentives including half pay to take voluntary leave. More than 1,000 of Alaska’s 3,000 pilots took the incentives. The flight attendants were offered a voluntary-leave option that included health care but was unpaid.

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School Openings and Workers’ Compensation

We have received questions about teachers, school openings and workers’ compensation in light of the Coronavirus. Many teachers are worried about returning to the classroom. Workers’ compensation benefits may be available if teachers get sick in the classroom.

Reopening of Schools for 2020-2021 School Year

In Washington State, Governor Inslee is leaving the decision of when and how to reopen schools to the districts to decide. “We’ve got to give the districts some time to really to think about what works for them rather than dictating to them a one-size-fits-all solution,” Inslee said.

Governor Inslee’s July 9 Press Conference

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Juneau is recommending to the School Board that Seattle Public Schools start the 2020-21 school year remotely. They would follow the remote instruction model until the risk of significant transmission of COVID-19 has decreased enough to resume in-person instruction. The School Board will vote on Superintendent Juneau’s recommendation and an associated plan for Fall 2020 on August 12.

Superintendent Juneau recommends remote-learning instruction model.
WEA Demands Safety First

The Washington Education Association (WEA) has written that safety must come first in any plans to return to school in the fall. WEA is calling for the 2020-21 school year to begin with distance learning and virtual instruction.

Teachers, School Openings and Workers’ Compensation

Governor Inslee announced workers’ compensation coverage for quarantined health workers/first responders on March 5, 2020. The expanded coverage takes effect immediately and covers eligible workers already under quarantine. There is a presumption that, if these workers come down with COVID-19, their exposure was related to their work activities and that workers’ compensation benefits are due.

Teachers, as well as other workers that might be considered essential, do not have a presumption of coverage at this time. However, workers’ compensation claims have and should be filed if workers come down with COVID-19. The Department of Labor and Industries has acknowledged processing claims filed for COVID-19.

Workers’ compensation coverage can include medical testing, cover treatment expenses if a worker becomes ill or injured and provide time-loss payments for those who cannot work if they are sick or quarantined. A claim can also include benefits for permanent impairment or should death occur due to the virus.

Our suggestion to those that are diagnosed with COVID-19, and believe that they were exposed to the Coronavirus on the job, including teachers as well as other workers, is to file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industries. Workers can file a workers’ compensation claim up to two years after being exposed to a disease at work.

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

A claim can be:

  • Filed online
  • By phone: 1-877-561-FILE (3453)
  • Through your doctor’s office

As with any claim decision, the Department of Labor and Industries will issue an Order and Notice stating whether your claim is allowed or denied. You will have sixty (60) days within which to file a written protest or appeal if you disagree with the decision. A protest can be faxed, mailed or submitted to the Department online. If no protest or appeal is filed within 60 days from the date you received the order, the decision becomes final and binding on all parties.

If you have any questions, either before filing a claim or if a claim should be denied, please feel free to contact our firm for assistance. We offer a free case analysis, and would be happy to discuss the circumstances you are facing with you.

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New Interpreter Scheduling System

This fall, the Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) will launch a new spoken language interpreter scheduling system. After a competitive process, interpretingWorks was selected to implement and administer this new system (reference RFP #4253). The goal is to comply with a new law (RCW 39.26.300) to improve meaningful access to spoken language interpreter services.

You can find more information in DLI’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)Please contact DLI directly at interpretation@Lni.wa.gov with any questions or concerns.

Online Platform: Optimized for Mobile Devices and PCs

With the new system, health care providers and vocational counselors will arrange for interpreters through an online scheduling system. It is optimized for mobile and PC access through any internet browser and provides built-in quality assurance and reporting for the program. Overall, this makes it easier to do business with DLI when requesting interpreters. The new system also implements quality measures that help ensure consistent adherence to the Washington State interpreter Code of Ethics (WAC 388-03-050).

For providers, it’s an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop to request interpreter services, offering seamless, electronic check-in/-out and sign-off for completed interpreting encounters.

For interpreters, it’s a real-time listing of available interpreting jobs located close by, accessible on mobile devices or a home PC. Interpreters can track job assignments, and do seamless, check-in/-out at appointment locations by scanning a QR-code. It also syncs job assignments with calendars and provides electronic invoicing for prompt payment.

DLI supports the health and safety of the state’s workforce through an array of procured services, including interpreter services. DLI provides about 17,000 spoken language interpreter encounters per month. DLI’s mission is to keep people safe and working by ensuring their access to services and care, whether or not they speak English.

For Interpreters: Sign up Now

Interpreters can sign up now through the interpretingWorks website by completing an online enrollment form. No paperwork is necessary. Once submitted, an interpretingWorks’ staff member will reach out to the interpreter to complete the enrollment process. The entire process only takes two to three business days to complete.

It’s important to note a requirement that’s NEW to the process, is that interpreters will need National Provider Identification (NPI) number. NPIs are unique, 10-digit numbers used for identifying specific providers. NPIs are widely used by medical providers nationwide.

If you need an NPI number, go to The National Provider Identifier Standard section of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. There is NO cost to sign up. 

For Providers:  Pre-enroll Now

Providers can pre-enroll now through the interpretingWorks vendor portal so their account is ready when the system is live in Fall 2020. 

De-activating Interpreter Agency Accounts

To comply with the new law, all interpreter agency accounts, and interpreters doing business with DLI under those agency group accounts, will be de-activated in early 2021. Interpreters who want to continue providing services to injured workers and victims of crime may enroll with interpretingWorks or maintain an independent interpreter provider account at DLI. Agencies have one year to bill DLI for services provided prior to this cut-off date. 

What Will Happen to Independent Interpreters?

There will be limited opportunities for independent interpreters to provide services for DLI appointments after the interpretingWorks roll-out. Their services are only approved for use in on-demand appointments that do not have a pre-scheduled time, such as emergency, urgent care, and walk-in appointments.

Providers have the option of using interpretingWorks, as well as Lionbridge and Language Link, DLI’s other contracted vendors. Independent interpreters may be used but only to meet on-demand needs (emergency, walk-in, etc..).

Interpreters are strongly encouraged to enroll in the interpretingWorks scheduling system by DLI.

What About the Claimant’s Needs?

We have requested additional input from DLI to clarify whether injured workers will have any say in which interpreter will be assigned to their appointments with their providers. It is not clear that an injured worker can expect to have the same interpreter at all of their appointments, let alone the interpreter of their choosing.

A lack of choice in which interpreter an injured worker chooses to work with while going through the process of medical and vocational services under a claim is significant. It is not like requesting a driver through a ride-share app, but that is how the system seems to treat it, at least at first glance.

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Rollbacks to Some Activities to Slow COVID-19 Exposure

Gov. Jay Inslee announced rollbacks to some activities to slow COVID-19 exposure in Washington State. Changes are being made to Washington’s “Safe Start” phased approach to reopening. The changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.

It has been four months since the governor announced the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Since then, cases in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500.

To combat the rising numbers, the governor and Secretary of Health John Wiesman are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.

“We do not take these steps lightly. We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners,” Inslee said during a press conference. “But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line.”

Read the rest of the story on rollbacks to some activities on the governor’s Medium page.

Requirements for All Employers

The full details of the Safe Start Washington – Phased Reopening County-by-County plan is available here. The following is an outline of the requirements for employers under this plan. For all of the fine-point details, refer to the Safe Start document. In all phases – Employers are required to:

  • Provide (at no cost to employees) cloth facial coverings to employees, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under the Department of Labor & Industries’ safety and health rules and guidance. Since June 8, all employees have been required to wear a cloth facial covering, consistent with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules and guidance.
  • Cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases, suspected cases, outbreaks, and suspected outbreaks of COVID-19; cooperate with the implementation of infection control measures, including but not limited to isolation and quarantine and environmental cleaning; and comply with all public health authority orders and directives.
  • Notify the local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if it is suspected that COVID-19 is spreading in the workplace, or if you 2 or more employees develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.
  • Keep a safe and healthy facility in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices.
  • Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission, and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.
  • Maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees (and customers) in all interactions at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as use of barriers, minimizing staff or customers in narrow or enclosed areas, and staggering breaks and work shift starts.
  • Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use disposable gloves where safe and applicable to prevent virus transmission on tools or other items that are shared.
  • Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces
  • Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of their shift. Make sure sick employees stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control to deep clean and sanitize.
  • Post a sign requiring customers to wear cloth facial coverings, and prominently display it at the entrance to the business so that it is immediately noticeable to all customers entering the store.
  • Follow requirements in Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46 High-Risk Employees – Workers’ Rights.

Businesses are also required to implement any health and safety requirements developed specifically for
their industry.

More Information for Workers

If you have questions or concerns about exposure to the Coronavirus on-the-job and how the workers’ compensation process will work, feel free to contact our firm for assistance.

For more detail about the rollbacks to some activities:

  • Read updated guidance for restaurants/taverns here
  • Read updated guidance for card rooms here
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Skookumchuck Wind Farm Trench Collapse

The Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) has cited three companies for safety violations that led to a fatal trench collapse at the Skookumchuck Wind Farm near Rainier, WA.  The three companies were fined more than a half million dollars in connection with the January trench collapse, which killed one worker and seriously injured another.

The Skookumchuck Wind Farm Project

The Skookumchuck Wind Farm is located on the border between Thurston and Lewis Counties in Washington State. Southern Power, a U.S. wholesale energy provider, acquired the Skookumchuck Wind Farm in October 2019. The wind farm, once complete, will utilize 38 wind turbines manufactured by Vestas. The project was expected to achieve commercial operation in the first quarter of 2020.

The Daily Chronicle reported in late April that 350 people are working on the project. It is not expected to launch until later this year after a series of setbacks, including the trench collapse incident which halted work on the project.

DLI Investigation Results

The DLI investigation found numerous safety violations in connection with the incident. As a result, DLI has cited RES System 3 LLC for eight violations, and RES America Construction Inc. for six violations related to the fatal incident at the Skookumchuck Wind Farm site. A third company, GEMS, a medical service contractor, has been cited for one serious violation.

Two collapses buried workers

At the time of the incident, a RES System 3 employee was in a 15-foot-deep trench to position a bore pipe so it could be placed underneath a culvert by an excavator. Moments after the employee entered the trench, part of it collapsed, pinning the man.

After another worker and the excavator operator jumped in to rescue him, a second, larger collapse trapped the rescuers as well. The excavator operator was buried up to his knees, but was able to free himself and call for help.

Managers and employees from RES America and RES System 3, as well as GEMS medics arrived to assist in the rescue effort. At one point, nine or more people took turns entering the still unprotected trench to dig out the buried workers.

The crew found the worker who jumped in after the first collapse, but he was pronounced dead by an on-scene medic. A short time later, the victim buried in the first collapse was freed and taken by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries.

“This incident is heartbreaking and frustrating. This fatality and the hospitalization of a worker were completely preventable. Trenching at this depth, in the dead of winter after days of rain, in unstable soil with no trench box, was a recipe for disaster,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director in charge of DLI’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

“These violations were flagrant and they nearly led to a multiple-fatality incident. Sadly, they did cost one employee his life. For these reasons, the maximum penalty allowable under safety laws is being issued for the two most directly related willful violations,” Soiza added.

RES America, the general contractor for the project, hired RES System 3 to construct the 38-tower wind farm. RES System 3 was most directly responsible for the work performed that day. The trapped worker hospitalized was a direct employee of RES System 3 and the man who died worked for Aerotek, a temporary labor agency contracted by RES System 3 to supply additional labor.

Firms cited for violations

RES System 3 had the most violations on the project and faces the largest fine. DLI cited the company for three willful violations, three serious violations and two general violations. As a result, they face $360,874 in fines.

The willful violations are for not having cave-in protection, having no competent person trained on trench safety on site, and having no written safety program tailored to the project. Willful violations are the most serious. A willful violation can be issued when DLI has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or intentional disregard of a hazard or rule.

DLI found RES System 3 acted indifferently to the site hazards and the rules, including regularly disregarding their internal safety policies and procedures, promoting a work policy designed to circumvent the requirements of the code, and providing inadequate direction to a crew doing inherently dangerous work.

RES System 3 is also being cited for three serious violations for inadequate training, improper ladder extension, and for having no means of getting out of the trench. They were also cited for general violations related to improper ladder use and setup.

RES America, the general contractor, faces $184,800 in fines. They’re being cited for two willful violations. The first is for not ensuring the subcontractor had and used cave-in protection, and for not ensuring the subcontractor had a written safety program tailored to the project. The second willful violation is for not having a written safety program tailored to the project for the company’s own employees. There are also two serious violations for inadequate training programs and improper ladder extension. In addition, they’re being cited for two general violations for improper ladder use and setup.

GEMS was a contractor providing onsite medical services. The company is being fined $4,200 for a serious violation for exposing two of its employees to hazards when they entered the unprotected trench.

Penalties and appeal rights

Employers have 15 business days from the time they receive the citation from DLI to appeal. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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Man ordered to repay $340K in workers’ comp scam

Renton man ordered to repay $340K in one of state’s largest workers’ comp scams.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (DLI) announced the results of the prosecution of the injured worker on June 23rd.

The fraud case
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese ordered the Renton man to repay DLI more than $339,900. The judge also sentenced Mr. Strasbaugh to 45 days in electronic home monitoring.

Robert J. Strasbaugh, 67, who was receiving a workers’ compensation pension when he was caught, pleaded guilty to felony first-degree theft in the case. Mr. Strasbaugh was working as a delivery driver, using his wife’s name, while receiving total disability pension benefits.

Mr. Strasbaugh, who has already begun to pay back the state, fraudulently received nearly $342,000 in time loss, pension, and vocational benefits from 2012 to early 2017.

“Our investigation showed Mr. Strasbaugh was deliberately deceitful in his attempt to cheat the workers’ comp system,” said Chris Bowe, assistant director of DLI’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards division. “We truly appreciate the public’s help in tipping us off to cases like this.”

“Fraud is not a victimless crime. It hurts honest workers and employers who pay into the system and can cause their rates to rise.”

Anonymous tip
DLI began investigating Mr. Strasbaugh in 2017 after receiving an anonymous tip that he was working under his wife’s name, according to charging papers.

At the time, he was receiving DLI payments to replace part of his wages due to an on-the-job injury he suffered in 2003. A doctor had determined Mr. Strasbaugh could not work because of the knee injury and permanently disqualified him from returning to his job as a delivery driver.

Yet despite his official declarations to DLI that he was not working, a two-year investigation determined Mr. Strasbaugh had worked multiple delivery driver jobs around the state from May 2012 to January 2017.

Using wife’s name
Investigators determined Mr. Strasbaugh used his wife’s name and her Social Security number while working as a delivery driver for one company for about three years. The company owner said Mr. Strasbaugh’s work included loading and unloading freight.

The investigation also found he worked as a contracted driver under his own name for an apple delivery company. An auto rental business provided records showing that Mr. Strasbaugh rented delivery trucks 26 times over an 18-month period, each time signing his name and the company name.

DLI pension
Based largely on doctor assessments and claimant statements, Mr. Strasbaugh was found to be totally and permanently disabled in 2016. His wage-replacement payments ended, and he qualified to receive DLI pension payments for life, as long as he did not work.

DLI ended Mr. Strasbaugh’s pension in 2018 a result of the fraud investigation.

Worker Fraud Hurts Other Injured Workers

Statistically, most workers’ compensation fraud is promulgated by employers. Attempts to avoid paying premiums through mis-classification of workers, under-reporting hours worked, or labeling workers as independent contractors are common forms of employer fraud.

When an injured worker is found to have committed blatant fraud, as seems to be the case here with a man ordered to repay $340K, other injured workers are then also subject to suspicion of fraudulent activity. This leads to an undercurrent of disbelief in the administration of claims. Doctors may doubt the truthfulness of their patients. Claims Managers may suspect the worst of their claimants.

Going through the process of a workers’ compensation claim, from injury through medical treatment, return to work and claim closure, is already a difficult process. No injured worker needs the added scrutiny and, often, delays brought on by news of blatant claimant fraud.

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First Safe Start Citation Issued

Fitness gym in Yakima County receives first Safe Start citation, fined nearly $10K for operating in violation of governor’s order.

The Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) has issued the first Safe Start citation against an employer for ignoring the Governor’s Safe Start order. DLI’s press release states that Bradshaw Development, Inc. , owner of Anytime Fitness Selah, was cited after DLI inspectors found the gym open for business on June 15th, when it should’ve been closed under the governor’s order.

The governor’s Safe Start proclamation prohibits most businesses from operating unless their county is in the appropriate phase of the statewide plan to reopen their economy and other aspects of daily living. Anytime Fitness Selah is in Yakima County, one of the state’s most active areas for coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. The county remains in Phase 1, the most restrictive tier of the four-phase state plan.

DLI Inspection

DLI inspected the Selah facility after receiving multiple complaints from the public and a referral from the Yakima Health District that Anytime Fitness was operating in violation of the governor’s proclamation. Before DLI conducted the inspection, state workers contacted the business multiple times; they informed the business about the order and directed it to close.

The state had received 13 complaints since May about Anytime Fitness Selah. People submitting complaints said the gym allowed customers to work out without requiring social distancing, was selling new memberships, and was posting on social media that it was open.

In an email to the governor’s office, a Yakima Health District official said numerous community members were reporting that the fitness center was open and that a staff member drove by and saw the building was packed with customers.

DLI notified Anytime Fitness Selah about the requirement to close to the public in a phone call, email, letter, and inspection. The citation is a “willful general” violation, meaning the employer knew about the safety requirements, but refused to follow them.

When inspectors went to the facility on June 15th, they saw several employees working, as well as customers entering and using the facility.

Exposing workers to COVID-19

Operating and serving customers during Phase 1 exposes Anytime Fitness Selah workers to an unacceptable risk of coronavirus exposure, according to the citation from DLI’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

Along with being cited for the violation, the business faces a $9,639 fine. The business had until July 5 to close or 15 working days to appeal.

“Our primary focus is making sure employers do everything possible to prevent their workers from being exposed to the coronavirus,” said DLI Director Joel Sacks. “In this case, Anytime Fitness Selah was clearly aware it was operating in defiance of the governor’s order and putting employees at risk. They chose to stay open even after multiple contacts with DLI. And, it’s just not fair to businesses that are following the rules when others don’t.”

Businesses given several chances to comply

By the time DLI receives a Safe Start referral from the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team, the business has already been contacted by phone and, when possible, by email to ensure they understand the Safe Start rules. In most cases, businesses comply.

If employers say they won’t follow the rules or DLI receives more complaints, the department sends a letter warning that they could be fined if they remain open. Inspectors may later drive by the businesses to make sure they’re complying. If they’re open, the case is referred to a DOSH investigator, who inspects the work site in person and may issue a citation.

Other Safe Start violations under review

Through June 26th, DLI staff working at the state EOC had contacted more than 400 businesses about complaints filed about their operations. The staff have given businesses guidance and answered questions when possible. The team still has approximately 1,300 businesses to contact about possible Safe Start violations.

People who believe a business is violating Safe Start rules can report it online.

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How to Wear a Mask Project

The How to Wear a Mask Project

The City of Seattle gave our own Lexi Potter a shout-out for her initiative and action in launching the How to Wear a Mask project. Lexi noticed others not wearing their masks in the most effective manner while commuting to work, and thought simple instructions on the proper use of face coverings could help everyone in the community.

Lexi and a group of friends designed informative posters to help people understand how to effectively wear masks to protect their friends and family. They have printed hundreds of posters, some now translated into Chinese (with other languages on the way), that they are distributing to local businesses and hanging up throughout the city.

Lexi is one of our essential employees that has continued to come into the office throughout the Stay at Home order. As King County has moved through the phases of reopening, Lexi has been the hub that has kept all the wheels turning, enabling the firm to remain fully open and functional while most of the team is working from home.

Free Face Masks!

Washington will supply masks to eligible residents for free, coinciding with the Governor’s order to make mask-wearing mandatory across the state. This order went into effect on June 26th.

Washington state has purchased 3.6 million cloth face masks for every person in Washington below 200% of the federal poverty level (a family of four earning $52,400 or less). Local emergency management programs, are working with various community organizations and service providers to deliver them to people who need them.

Masks will be available through your local public health department and other community organizations. Watch locally for news about how masks are being distributed in your area.

The Department of Health recommends you throw away any masks you might have that don’t stay on your face right or have holes in them.

Mask Challenge

How to wear a face mask, where to get a free face mask, and now a face mask challenge! The Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib, has kicked off the challenge, asking anyone that makes a minimum of 10 masks to register to donate the masks for distribution. Instructions for sewing masks are provided, here. There are links on the challenge page to donate masks or request masks.

Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib announces the Washington Mask Challenge, a statewide initiative to encourage Washingtonians to make, wear, and donate cloth face masks.
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Closures Due to State Furloughs

The Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) is implementing closures due to State furloughs. Governor Jay Inslee announced the cancellation of some state employee raises and the need for furloughs on June 17, 2020.

A 3% pay raise previously approved by the legislature and set to take effect as of July 1st has been cancelled. The cancellation effects roughly 5,600 State employees. According to a press release, the raises will be canceled “for agency directors, Exempt Management Service and Washington Management Service employees, and all other exempt employees who earn more than $53,000 annually.”

Governor Inslee also directed all cabinet agencies in Washington State to take furlough days as a result of the state budget shortfall related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 40,000 State employees will be impacted by the furloughs.

There will be scheduled weekly furlough days in July and monthly furlough days through November. In addition, employees are encouraged to take additional voluntary furlough days. Starting this week, DLI will begin this process.

DLI Closures Due to State Furloughs

Many DLI employees will go on furlough one day per week through July 25 and will not answer phone calls or emails. DLI’s Tumwater and field office locations will be closed on the furlough days, as well.

The schedule for closure days during the month of July is as follows:

•Thurs., July 2 (we’ll also be closed Fri., July 3 to observe Independence Day).
•Fri., July 10.
•Fri., July 17.
•Fri., July 24.

There will also be closures due to State furloughs beyond the month of July. Many employees also must take a furlough day once a month from August to November. Specific dates have not been determined.

“We remain committed to keeping Washington safe and working, and our services vital to public health and safety – DOSH, Electrical Inspections, workers’ compensation benefits – remain operational during furlough days.“

Anne F. Soiza
L&I Assistant Director, 
WA State Department of Labor and Industries
More Information

Temporary changes to Department policy are already in place in response to the pandemic. Workers that are unable to work due to an injury should continue to receive benefits without significant delay or interruption from the closures due to State furloughs.

If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim, feel free to contact our firm. We offer a free case analysis and stand ready to assist you when you need help.

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Interpreter Services Payment Policies Extended

COVID-19 Temporary Interpreter Services Payment Policies Extended to June 30, 2021 by the Department of Labor and Industries.

The Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) developed the COVID-19 temporary interpreter services payment policy to ensure meaningful access to interpreter services to support the safety and health of their clients during the pandemic. This policy allows in-person interpreters the option of providing video or telephone interpretation. The original COVID-19 Temporary Policy expiration of July 3, 2020, has been extended until June 30, 2021. 

The updated COVID-19 temporary Interpreter Services via Video or Telephone policy is available on the Medical Aid Rules and Fee Schedules Updates and Corrections webpage.

DLI says it is continuously evaluating the effectiveness of these policies to help injured workers heal and return to work. In the event DLI determines it is appropriate to either end or extend these policies, we will send an advanced notice through this messaging service. 

Interpreter services are a covered benefit for all injured workers, including self-insured and crime victims, who have an open and allowed claim. DLI will not reimburse interpreters who are family or friends of the worker, or for any legal purposes, such as attorney appointments, legal conferences, depositions, or testimony at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, or any court.

More Information

To find an interpreter, use L&I’s Interpreter Lookup Service.

Questions on the payment policies? Contact DLI at HPPM@lni.wa.gov

Questions about Interpreter Services? Contact DLI at interpretation@lni.wa.gov.

Questions about your workers’ compensation claim? We are happy to discuss your case with you. We can work with a friend or family member to interpret for you. We also work with certified interpreters and can make a referral, if needed.

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Published by Causey Wright