Information for City employees about Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19)

The City aims to provide accurate and timely information to City employees about COVID-19. Please check this webpage regularly. Employee information and materials will be housed on this page throughout the City's response to COVID-19, to ensure every employee has access to this information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact your supervisor to discuss your return plans. Departments are required to ensure that floor/area capacity limits and social distancing requirements are observed and will confirm whether adequate space is available for employees opting to return. Department management should consult Appendix; Attachment 1 for guidance from FAS on occupancy management requirements.

Yes. Employees opting to return full time should discuss their return to office timeline with their supervisor and then confirm their return date via email. Employees opting to return in a part-time capacity should submit a new Alternative Work Arrangement form to their supervisor for approval. 

Yes. Under our COVID-19 Face Covering Policy for City of Seattle Employees, Contractors, Vendors and Visitors to City Facilities, employees are required to wear a face covering over their noses and mouths while at work except when working alone, when they have been given an exemption due to a medical or religious reason, or are otherwise exempted.

Yes. CDC and OSHA and LNI guidance currently recommends or requires masks or face coverings to be worn while in the workplace setting unless you are in a closed office working. Current guidance applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Individuals are required to follow these safety measures at all worksites and office locations where City business is conducted:

·        Wear a face covering (required in public and at work with some exceptions).

·        Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people outside your household.

·        Monitor your health daily for symptoms of COVID 19.

·        Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.

·        Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.

·        Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

·        Avoid contact with people who are sick.

·        Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Immediately throw away the tissue and wash

         your hands. 

·        Follow travel advisories in effect. 

Yes.  As has been the case throughout the past year, departments may require employees to return to the office if business needs require in accordance with negotiated agreements with our labor partners.  

No. The City is currently developing return to office planning in accordance with public health guidelines and business needs. The City anticipates that some employees who are currently teleworking will begin to return to the workplace after July 5, 2021. Teleworking employees are encouraged to continue teleworking through mid October, unless there is a business need for their return.

Employees who want to return to the office must coordinate with their supervisor to address their individual technology resource needs. 

Employees who opt to return to the workplace on a full-time basis will no longer meet the eligibility requirements receive the COVID-19 telework stipend. Employees who opt to return to the workplace on a part-time basis (60-80 hours per month) will continue to be eligible to receive a partial COVID-19 telework stipend until telework is no longer required for public health or operational reasons. Please see the COVID-19 Telework Stipend Policy negotiated with labor partners for more information.  

No. You will not be required to come into the office every day. That said, your schedule will be based on the discussion you have with your supervisor about your individual needs. The agreement you make with your supervisor will need to be captured in an AWA agreement.

Yes, you may return to partial or full telework assuming a) the City is still operating under the Return to Work MOA negotiated with labor partners and b) there is not a business need for you to work in-person.  Employees must reuqest approval from their supervisor of any change to their teleworking status and update their AWA agreement accordingly.

There are several informal and formal resources and safe spaces for employees who have questions or concerns related to return to office in addition to your local HR or HR Business Partner (see Appendix; Attachment 2). These resources include:

·        Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

·        Office of the Employee Ombud (OEO)

·        Human Resource Investigation Unit (HRIU)

·        Office for Civil Rights (OCR)  

Our goal is to provide the best possible support for employees to navigate this transition and address related anxiety or uncertainty.

Visit the City's Vaccine SharePoint site as well as the City's public-facing website. The SharePoint site is a resource for employees with information about the COVID-19 vaccine, eligibility, availability, and self-care tips. For additional information about vaccine availability and to join the notification list for employees who are currently eligible, please visit www.seattle.gov/vaccine. By completing the COVID-19 notification form, you'll then receive emails with registration information for upcoming City-sponsored vaccination opportunities.

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) federal leave program expired on December 31, 2020. Below is a summary of City resources that continue to remain available to employees.

  • Employees who have been utilizing Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under FFCRA will be able to continue using their accrued paid leave after December 31, 2020. Depending on the circumstances, some employees may also be eligible for other City leave programs, such as Donated Sick Leave, Paid Family Care Leave, or City Family Medical Leave. Employees must contact and consult with the HR department to discuss their leave options as each circumstance and reason for leave is unique.
  • Employees who have been utilizing Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and/or Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML) under FFCRA for childcare purposes will continue to be able to use their accrued paid leave, including paid sick leave, after December 31, 2020. Employees may also discuss with their managers whether it is feasible to work a reduced or flexible schedule.
  • Employees who continue to need leave for a COVID-19 event, but have exhausted their accrued paid leave, should contact their HR department to discuss any other available City leave options.

The City of Seattle has been working round-the-clock to keep our workforce and community safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check this SharePoint page regularly for updates and visit www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19 for information on the City's initiatives to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The City has increased the number of hand sanitizer stations in City buildings and janitorial staff and contractors have increased the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces such as elevator buttons and door handles. Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) has also developed enhanced cleaning protocols

Employees may be allowed to take home certain City-issued equipment (i.e. desktop computers, computer keyboards, mice, and monitors) with approval from your supervisor. Upon receiving a supervisor's approval, employees must complete the Desktop Computer Equipment Telework Reporting Form to ensure that inventory information is properly updated.  The following conditions apply to the removal of computer monitors from City buildings:

  1. The employee is responsible for disconnecting, transporting, and setting up the monitor in a new location, and for returning it and re-installing it in its original location when ordered to do.
  2. Seattle IT cannot provide assistance in relocating monitors in this manner. IT does not maintain a supply of extra stands for monitors that are attached to pivot arms.
  3. Employees would need to assume responsibility for acquiring any additional cables to provide connectivity to home devices or laptops.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. 

If an employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19, the employee should immediately inform their manager that they need to leave the workplace. The employee and/or manager should also notify SDHR by emailing SDHRCOVID@seattle.gov. ‚Äč

The employee should immediately contact the King County Novel Coronavirus Call Center at (206) 477-3977 AND their health care provider to get public health guidance on next steps, as well as immediately begin at-home isolation. Next steps should be made in accordance with guidance from Public Health - Seattle King County and the employee's health care provider.

Governor Inslee's Proclamation 20-46 High-Risk Employees - Worker's Rights issued on April 13, 2020 cited those 65 years of age and older as higher risk. On July 29, 2020, Governor Inslee issued further guidance defining the higher risk category due to age as "employees who are 65 years or older." Per the proclamation, and accodring to the CDC, older adults and people with certain medical conditions are particularly susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19.

Governor Inslee's proclamation utilizes the CDC definition. According to the CDC, people of any age with the following medical conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19:

• Cancer

• Chronic kidney disease

• COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Down Syndrome

• Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

• Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant

• Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)

Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)

• Pregnancy• Sickle cell disease

• Smoking

• Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Please consult CDC guidance for the latest information.