Gov. Inslee issues memo on workers compensation and proclamation on high-risk workers


On April 1, WSNA joined other health care and first responder unions in asking Governor Jay Inslee to make clear that employers must protect high-risk workers and to clarify his earlier order regarding L&I claims filed by health care workers and first respon­ders. Gov. Inslee took the following actions:

  • On April 10, Gov. Inslee sent a memorandum clari­fying how L&I should handle workers compen­sa­tion claims for COVID-19. The memo clearly defines new condi­tions including: assuming any COVID-19 exposure occurred on the job unless there is clear evidence other­wise; and the state will pay for medical and time-loss costs for quaran­tine period regard­less of final diagnosis. This memo also provides relief for employers who have workers utilize this benefit, disin­cen­tivizing employers from telling their nurses and health care workers that they became sick through commu­nity exposure.”

  • On April 13, Gov. Inslee issued a procla­ma­tion protecting high-risk employees. The procla­ma­tion guaran­tees workers over age 65 and workers with under­lying health condi­tions can choose an alter­na­tive work assign­ment, use accrued leave or unemploy­ment benefits (with mandated employer-maintained health coverage) if alter­na­tive work assign­ment is not feasible, and prohibits employers from perma­nently replacing high-risk workers (meaning workers who need protec­tion now must be given their job back when this is over).