50A.15.120  <<  50A.15.130 >>   End of Chapter

Pandemic leave assistance employee grantsEligibility. (Expires June 30, 2023.)

(1) Employees who do not meet the hours worked threshold for eligibility under RCW 50A.15.010 or 50A.30.020(1), and are otherwise eligible under Title 50A RCW for a claim with an effective start date in 2021 through March 31, 2022, are eligible for a pandemic leave assistance employee grant as provided under this section if they meet any of the following hours thresholds:
(a) Worked 820 hours in employment during the first through fourth calendar quarters of 2019; or
(b) Worked 820 hours in employment during the second through fourth calendar quarters of 2019 and first calendar quarter of 2020.
(2)(a) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to an employee who does not meet the hours worked threshold for eligibility under RCW 50A.15.010 or 50A.30.020(1) because of an employment separation due to misconduct or a voluntary separation unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(b) An employee seeking eligibility under this section must attest, in a manner prescribed by the department, that their failure to meet the hours worked threshold for eligibility under RCW 50A.15.010 or 50A.30.020(1) is not due to the reasons specified in (a) of this subsection.
(3) Employees may file a claim with the department for a pandemic leave assistance employee grant beginning August 1, 2021.
(4) The amount of the pandemic leave assistance employee grant to each eligible employee must be equal to the weekly benefit amount calculated in Title 50A RCW and any rules promulgated thereunder. In calculating the weekly benefit amount for nonsalaried employees eligible under subsection (1) of this section, the typical workweek hours are the quotient derived by dividing the sum of the employee's hours reported by the sum of the number of weeks for which the employer reported hours.
(5) An employee is not eligible for a pandemic leave assistance employee grant under this section for any week in which the employee has received, is receiving, or will receive unemployment compensation under Title 50 RCW, workers' compensation under Title 51 RCW, or any other applicable federal unemployment compensation, industrial insurance, or disability insurance laws.
(6) Employers with 150 or fewer employees may be eligible for a pandemic leave assistance employer grant to assist with the costs of an employee on leave, as provided in RCW 50A.24.020.
(7) Grants under this section are available only until funding provided by the legislature solely for these purposes is exhausted.

NOTES:

FindingIntent2021 c 109: "(1) The legislature finds that many Washington workers have suffered direct effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the unprecedented global shutdown in response to COVID-19, many Washington workers who have paid into the paid family and medical leave insurance program are unable to access their benefits through no fault of their own. Workers recovering from COVID-19 or caring for an individual who is severely ill due to COVID-19 are unable to access their benefits.
(2) Therefore, the legislature intends to provide financial assistance to workers who are not otherwise eligible for paid family and medical leave due to COVID-19's impact on their ability to meet the hours worked threshold. The legislature intends to provide a pandemic leave assistance employee grant to provide an equivalent benefit to what the worker would otherwise be eligible to receive under the paid family and medical leave insurance program. Additionally, the legislature intends to provide a pandemic leave assistance employer grant to help offset small business employers' costs related to employees on leave who are receiving a pandemic leave assistance employee grant.
(3) The legislature intends to utilize federal funding from the America rescue plan act to provide financial assistance to COVID-19 impacted workers. The legislature does not intend for this worker assistance to affect the state's paid family and medical leave insurance account." [ 2021 c 109 § 1.]
Construction2021 c 109: "Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit or interfere with the requirements, rights, and responsibilities of employers and employees under Title 50A RCW, except as provided in this act. Employees and employers receiving a grant under section 2 or 3 of this act must comply with all provisions of Title 50A RCW and any rules promulgated thereunder." [ 2021 c 109 § 4.]
Rule making2021 c 109: "The employment security department may adopt rules to implement this act." [ 2021 c 109 § 5.]
Expiration date2021 c 109: "Sections 1 through 5 of this act expire June 30, 2023." [ 2021 c 109 § 6.]
Effective date2021 c 109: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [April 21, 2021]." [ 2021 c 109 § 7.]
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