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caption: A courier uses alcohol to disinfect packages in order to prevent any potential coronavirus pathogens from spreading to themselves and customers.
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A courier uses alcohol to disinfect packages in order to prevent any potential coronavirus pathogens from spreading to themselves and customers.
Credit: for NPR

State benefits could cover Washington workers affected by COVID-19 illness

Washington workers who have been affected by COVID-19 may qualify for paid sick leave. Here's what you need to know.

Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine says using employer-provided sick leave is the first and best option for people who need to miss work because they’re sick.

“We don’t want there to be any disincentive for people to stay home if they need to," LeVine said.

Passed by voters in 2016, Washington's Paid Sick Leave requires employers to provide paid time off for illness or to care for a family member who's sick. As an employee, you're entitled to be paid your normal hourly compensation.

If you're sick or are caring for a family member who's ill for more than a week, you can apply for the state's Paid Family and Medical Leave, which took effect this year.

"This is a partial wage replacement," said LeVine. This is part of your unemployment benefit that you and your employer contribute as part of your payroll deduction. This is designed for a major medical event.

But if you find yourself temporarily laid off or if your hours are reduced as a result of the outbreak, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits, said LeVine.

These measures are part of the state’s emergency rules to help workers and employers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out which program best suits your needs here.