Washington State Institutes Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
On August 13, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-67: Food Production Workers Paid Leave.
What are the details?
Proclamation 20-67 modifies previous proclamations to prohibit any food production employer from continuing to operate between August 18, 2020, and November 13, 2020, unless it provides its workers with emergency supplemental paid sick leave for a qualifying, COVID-19-related event within this window.
Covered Employers under Proclamation 20-67 include those operating:
- Orchards, fields, and dairies;
- All other industries specifically identified in Washington Administrative Code section 296-307- 006, with some exceptions, including timber tracts, Christmas tree growing, tree farms, forest nurseries, and forestry services;
- Fruit- and vegetable-packaging warehouses (regardless of whether the warehouse is owned by the grower or producer); and
- Meat and seafood processors and packers, including those falling under the 3116 and 3117 NAICS industry codes.
Also covered are employers that are farm labor contractors under Revised Code of Washington chapter 49.30 (agricultural labor), but only if they are paying wages to a covered worker.
Covered workers under this proclamation are food production workers who have started providing services to a covered employer. These include, but are not limited to:
- Domestic workers, i.e., Washington State-based workers, including those domiciled in Washington;
- “Seasonal or migrant workers,” as defined by the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act; and
- Temporary foreign workers who are lawfully present in the United States to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature
Importantly, the use of the term “worker” (rather than employee) appears to be intentional as this proclamation applies to both covered independent contractors and employees who perform work for the covered employer.
The proclamation specifically defines which COVID-19–related events are qualifying events, which are:
- The covered worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- The covered worker is advised by a healthcare official or provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to or a positive diagnosis of COVID-19;
- The covered worker is prohibited from working due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19; or
- The covered worker is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis. You can read the whole proclamation here.
What do employers need to do?
Employers in Washington working in the food industry should update their leave policies to accommodate this new proclamation.