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Local Government Employees to Work Remotely Until 2021

State and local government workers in Washington will continue to work remotely through the end of the year. Officials hope that the advanced notice allows time for adjustment and preparation.

Pike Street in Seattle, Wash., nearly empty on May 20, 2020
Pike Street in Seattle, Wash., nearly empty on May 20, 2020. (Michael J Magee/Shutterstock)
Michael J Magee/Shutterstock
Officials of King County, Wash., announced late last month that mandatory telecommuting would be extended for many local government workers through the end of the year. Thousands of eligible workers in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, the cities of Everett, Kenmore, Redmond, Seattle, Shoreline and Tacoma and the Ports of Seattle and Everett will continue to work remotely until Jan. 8, 2021. King County and the city of Seattle, alone, employ approximately 12,000 workers that are eligible to work from home.

King County Executive Dow Constantine explained, “We’ve learned a lot about our ability to adapt and respond amid this pandemic, and by taking a regional approach to telework, we can continue to meet the needs of residents, maximize physical distancing for people who need to report to work in person, and further stem the spread of COVID-19.”

The mandatory teleworking policy extension applies to all employees currently telecommuting, “except where there is an operational need to physically return to the workplace.” While workers remain remote, many services, including schools in some counties, will continue to be offered online and via phone. Officials are hopeful that the notice will give workers and families time to adequately prepare for continued remote work.

“We know that those with school-aged kids have been juggling an enormous workload these past six months,” said Dave Somers, Snohomish County executive. “Giving them some predictability should help with planning, while also allowing us to keep county government delivering services to the public.”

Zoe is the digital editor for Governing.
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