By REP. BETH DOGLIO
(Jan. 15, 2020) — The 2020 legislative session began on Monday, and I am very happy to have introduced two important bills to support our hardworking state employees: House Bill 2304 relating to shared leave and House Bill 2264 increasing the cap on accrued vacation leave.
Serving the 22nd Legislative District gives me the great honor of representing the largest pool of state employees in Washington. I value your work and am committed to advocating on your behalf to support you as public employees. I am also committed to making sure the state of Washington is one of the best employers in the world.
Wasting no time, I presented these bills to their assigned committees on the first two days of the legislative session.
HB 2304 will make it possible for state workers injured on the job to maintain their healthcare benefits while receiving workers’ compensation benefits from the state Department of Labor and Industries. Currently, workers are left financially constrained while receiving time-loss benefits since the benefit doesn’t cover full wages or salary — usually only about 60 percent.
We are working to change that.
People who work for the state don’t expect to get rich, but they do expect to be able to pay their bills. Since the bills still need to be paid even after an on-the-job injury, we need to make sure our state workers can fully provide for their families while recovering.
HB 2264 raises the cap on the number of hours an employee can hold over annually from the current 240 hours to 280 hours. This allows state employees to have more flexibility over the course of several years to schedule vacation. Union negotiators tried to include this plan in their contract proposal only to discover that the 240 hour cap is set in law, so legislation is required to change it.
These bills are all about the way we care for and provide benefits to state employees so we can attract the best people possible.
This is just the beginning of the process for consideration of our legislation, and I’m hopeful that the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee and the State Government Committee & Tribal Relations Committee will soon advance these bills to the full House of Representatives for a vote. I’m working hard to pass them this year so they can be amended into state employee contracts during the next round of bargaining.
Thank you for your service!
Beth Doglio is a Democratic state representative representing the 22nd Legislative District, which includes Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater.