2018 Archive HR News

December 11, 2018

Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits – Update

Starting in 2020, Washington will be the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave benefits. This benefit offers partially paid leave to care for yourself or a loved one in times of serious illness or injury, to bond with a new child joining your home through birth, adoption or foster placement, and for certain military-connected events if you have a family member in active duty service.

Workers in Washington, will experience a few changes in 2019. If you are in a non-bargaining unit position, you will see a new deduction in your first paycheck of 2019. For example, if your pre-tax wages are $50,000 per year, you may pay up to or about $2.44 a week. Employers contribute to this program too, so we’re in this together.

In 2020, you will be able to apply for paid family and medical leave when you experience a qualifying event and have worked 820 hours (about 16 hours a week, on average) in the year leading up to your date of leave. This isn’t like paid sick leave; you will file your claim with the Employment Security Department (ESD), and your payment will come from ESD. Typically, you’ll have access to up to 12 weeks of paid leave. You can learn more at www.paidleave.wa.gov/workers.

Do you have questions? Ask your HR Business Partner or a Payroll Consultant. You can also ask your questions directly to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program at paidleave@esd.wa.gov. You can find them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @PaidLeaveWA.

November 20, 2018:

This email is intended to provide information regarding the Washington State Public Employee Directory (Contact.wa.gov). This directory includes listings for state agencies, educational institutions, and many local government organizations. The content of this on-line directory is selected and maintained by each participating public organization. DES Small Agency HR does not administer or update small agency contacts.

In order to update your agency contact information, each small agency will need to complete the attached “contact_wa_gov_import” sheet and email it to the WaTech support team at support@watech.wa.gov. There is no specific requirement for how often you update this platform, it is up to each agency to determine how up-to-date they want to make their contacts. WaTech suggests a monthly upload if changes have occurred with staff (e.g. new hires/terminations).

Each time you submit your spreadsheet it should contain all current employee information. For example, if you hire a new employee, you will add that employee’s information to the existing spreadsheet with all of your agency contact information, then submit it to WaTech. If you need a report of your staff’s current global listing in order to populate your spreadsheet, please submit a ticket to support@watech.wa.gov.

If you have any general questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If your questions are specific to the spreadsheet or process, please reach out to WaTech.

September 28, 2018:

We have received some questions that are similar in nature from agencies in regards to the sample policy for the Background Checks for FTI. This email is to provide some additional information in case there is confusion surrounding if this policy applies to your agency or not.

The IRS defines FTI in Section 1.4.1 of IRS Publication 1075.

1.4.1 Federal Tax Information (FTI)

FTI is a term of art and consists of federal tax returns and return information (and information derived from it) that is in the agency’s possession or control which is covered by the confidentiality protections of the IRC and subject to the IRC 6103(p)(4) safeguarding requirements including IRS oversight. FTI is categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified information and may contain personally identifiable information (PII).

FTI includes return or return information received directly from the IRS or obtained through an authorized secondary source, such as Social Security Administration (SSA), Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS),or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), or another entity acting on behalf of the IRS pursuant to an IRC 6103(p)(2)(B) Agreement.

FTI includes any information created by the recipient that is derived from federal return or return information received from the IRS or obtained through a secondary source.

1.4.4 Information Received From Taxpayers or Third Parties

Copies of tax returns or return information provided to the agency directly by the taxpayer or his/her representative (e.g. W-2’s, Form 1040, etc.) or obtained from public information files (e.g. federal tax lien on file with the county clerk, Offers in Compromise available for public inspection; court records, etc.) is not protected FTI that is subject to the safeguarding requirements of IRC 6103(p)(4). If the agency independently verifies FTI provided by the IRS or a secondary source with the taxpayer or a third party source, the verified information is not FTI as long as the IRS source information is replaced or overwritten with the newly provided information.

To read the entire guidance regarding access and management of FTI, click here to view IRS Publication 1075.

To further illustrate, Washington Employment Security Department has provided an example that may help as well. For example, if agency has wage data on every employee in the state. That data is not FTI, but when the agency gets the tax return from the IRS to garnish the refund, the information (including their wage data) becomes FTI.

If your agency is questioning whether or not you have positions that may have access to FTI, we encourage you to connect with your AAG to make this determination. When this legislation was drafted, an analysis was done at that time and the agencies affected were informed (and involved) in the hearings. It is unlikely that additional agencies would be impacted at this point but each agency will need to determine if this applies to them. From what we have seen, simply getting tax information directly from an individual or from an entity not identified in 1.4.1 is probably not FIT.

September 20, 2018:

Who: All General Government Agencies & Higher Ed Institutions

What: IT Class & Comp Structure Bargaining Update


Bargaining continues on the IT classification and compensation changes. There are tentative agreements with two of the five unions at this time. These unions are sharing information, such as the proposed salary schedules, with the employees they represent in preparation for contract ratification voting.

Agency and institution management should not be sharing any information with employees. The IT salary structure and position specific information is still confidential for bargaining and subject to legislative approval. State HR is working with the HR/IT Advisory Committee on post-bargaining change management and communication plans as we move forward. Information detailing next steps on the IT implementation will be shared in the upcoming months. Until that time, please do not share with employees any information other than what is posted on the State HR website.