WSHA successfully advocated for the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) to align its final regulations on health care workers’ unemployment eligibility during a declared public health emergency with the underlying law passed via SB 5190 (2021). SB 5190 established unemployment insurance benefits for health care workers who quarantine because of contraction of or exposure to the disease that is the subject of a declared public health emergency.
ESD’s initial draft did not align with statute and could have created unintended consequences for hospitals and other health care employers. WSHA’s advocacy resulted in final rules that reflect the statutory language, which ensures SB 5190 is implemented as intended. Please see WSHA’s bulletin on SB 5190 for more information about the law and the text of the final rules for the specific conditions regarding health care workers’ eligibility for unemployment insurance during a declared public health emergency. (David Streeter)