The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) has just released two workplace notices that must be posted by all Washington employers – the new Washington Domestic Violence Resources notice and the revised Unemployment Benefits notice. The notices are aimed at making sure that individuals are aware of the resources available to them in the event they experience job loss or domestic abuse. Here’s what’s covered:
Washington Domestic Violence Resources Notice
Washington State has become an influential model of progressivism in the workplace by adopting employment standards, policies and practices that raise awareness of social issues and improve the working conditions of workers. This year, lawmakers tackled domestic violence by passing a law (House Bill 1533) which requires employers to post in the workplace information about domestic violence resources available to victims. The new law is brief but direct. In it, the legislature observed that:
- Domestic violence causes physical and psychological harm, broken families, economic loss, and other societal ills.
- Nationally, approximately one in three women and one in three men had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.
- In Washington State, more than 54,000 domestic violence offenses had been reported to law enforcement and 49 domestic violence homicides occurred in 2017 alone.
- The workplace may be the only place where a victim feels safe and able to share confidences.
The intention of the law is to “shine the light on” and help curb the problem of domestic violence by raising awareness in an environment uniquely conducive to the message – the workplace.
The just-released Domestic Violence Resources notice itself defines abuse and provides examples of associated behaviors. It informs individuals experiencing harm or in need of advice of the toll-free number and website address of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It also provides the website of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence where individuals can find information about local programs. Using the Domestic Violence Resources notice to start a dialog among employees about domestic violence promotes a healthy workplace and may protect the well-being of victims.
Unemployment Benefits Notice
The Washington Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UI) notice has been reformatted and reflects expanded resources for unemployed workers. Probably most useful is the increase in ESD telephone support from two to five days a week and the availability of the Handbook for Unemployed Workers, which may be downloaded from the ESD’s website. The Handbook provides a detailed explanation of eligibility requirements, how to apply for benefits, reporting responsibilities, and benefit payments, most of which can be handled via the ESD’s eServices web portal.
Other changes to the UI notice include:
- Form required for former servicemember applicants;
- Advisement that the fastest way to apply is online;
- Advisement that individuals unable to work because of illness or injury may be eligible for Temporary Total Disability (TDD); and
- Availability of free language assistance.
New Washington All-On-One Poster
Both the Domestic Violence Resources and UI Notice are included on the updated Washington State All-On-One™ Labor Law Poster. These are likely the last posting changes for Washington employers for this year. Order your new Washington State All-On-One™ Poster, post the poster in the workplace and then take a break. We’ll let you know what transpires in the 2020 legislative term.