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Washington workers displaced by company coronavirus closures get relief

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington unemployment benefits would be available for employees affected by closures caused by a workplace outbreak of COVID-19.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced new policies on Tuesday that allows for unemployment benefits and other support for workers and businesses directly affected by the new coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.

The Employment Security Department adopted the emergency rules to offer relief for workers and employers if work is disrupted by COVID-19.

The emergency rules include:

  • Workers will be able to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to shut down operations temporarily because workers become sick or quarantined as a result of COVID-19.
  • A worker ordered to isolate or quarantine themselves as a result of exposure to COVID-19 and is not receiving paid sick leave may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
  • If a worker is forced to quit because of COVID-19, they may qualify for Paid Family Medical Leave while ill, and they may apply for unemployment benefits.
  • The rules remove the full-time requirement and expand standby ability to part time workers who are isolated.

RELATED: Real-time updates: Latest news on Washington coronavirus outbreak

Businesses and workers, including part-time and gig workers, have been economically hurt by reduced foot-traffic and canceled events. 

On Monday, major Seattle companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and Alaska Airlines announced that they will chip in to a philanthropic fund to help those workers and other vulnerable populations.

RELATED: Amazon, Microsoft chip in to help vulnerable groups hurt by coronavirus

RELATED: Small businesses in Seattle feeling big impact from coronavirus concerns

In the same press conference, Inslee also detailed new rules for assisted living and long-term care centers.

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