The dangers of COVID-19 present special, even dire problems for single-parenting, co-parenting and extended family parenting. Two recent articles cover many of the issues with sensitivity, insight, and practicality.
“I Never Felt Like a ‘Single’ Parent. Then the Coronavirus Hit.” sums up what so many have overlooked during shelter-in-place orders. It quotes social psychologist Bella DePaulo that fewer than one in five U.S. households consists of married parents and their shared children.
Housing payments are due now for most of us. For many of us, help is on the way. Most of us will receive a one-time stimulus check of $1200 or more. Maybe you also expect $600 additional dollars in each unemployment check. However, we don’t have that money now and we owe rent or mortgage payments now.
The good news is that there are three moratoriums on evictions during the pandemic. Washington State and Kitsap County both have blanket bans on evictions for failure to pay rent. The new federal legislation covers housing secured under federal programs.
Here’s what we know about unemployment benefits now
Washington State has more generous unemployment benefits than many states. In addition, the new CARES Act both covers workers usually not covered and adds an additional $600 to each payment through the end of July 2020. Check out this helpful Q&A on unemployment claims during the pandemic. Their answers cover gig workers, parttime workers and many of the ways COVID-19 is disrupting employment. That includes options for people with COVID-19, as well as people who care for someone with the virus or cannot work because your children’s schools are closed.
While benefits are more generous, the Employment Security Department is inundated with claims and struggling to process them quickly. It’s best to sign up for their COVID-19 updates.
Are you a gig worker, self-employed or work fewer hours than usually needed to qualify for unemployment? You may soon be able to apply for COVID-19 unemployment insurance payments. That’s the advice of Washington State Employment Security. The CARES Act, a part of the new federal stimulus legislation, covers many workers not usually eligible. Just signed into law the state is still translating the legislation to fit with our own rules and procedures.
Employment Security expects to be ready to accept your applications by mid-April. The fact that the system is not ready does not count against you. Benefits start on the date you are eligible, rather than the date you apply.
The best way to determine when to file is to sign up for the state COVID-19 action alert.
Of course, if you already qualify for unemployment relief under current state laws, apply now. As you may have heard, an additional $600 per week will be added to each unemployment check through July 31, 2020.
The State of Washington created a handy chart for worker benefits. This chart of state worker benefits was created prior to new federal laws. The chart covers paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, paid family leave, in addition to workers’ compensation. Click on Read More to see the chart.
by Michele Taylor, criminal defense attorney
You may have questions about how our criminal courts are operating during the pandemic. Both Kitsap County District Court and Kitsap County Superior Court closed for routine business in March through April 24, 2020. Below is the key COVID-19 criminal courts information for this time.
You have a bench warrant
by John Groseclose and Larry Lofgren
People are inquiring about visitation in this time of crisis. The question of child custody is perhaps the most emotional and difficult question courts have to decide. When parents cannot agree, often children are put in the middle. At GS Jones Law Group, we remind our clients that, not only do courts focus on what the best interest of the child is (not what’s “fair” to the parent), we genuinely care for the welfare of children.
Washington State’s law on sick pay can be a real force for containing the Coronavirus here. Now is a great time to review your compliance and consider what changes this emergency requires. Consider whether you need to make your sick and family leave policies more generous temporarily.
Summary of our state paid sick leave law
Do you believe that you are the victim of a Hostile Work Environment? Maybe the correct legal term is Outrage.
by Chalmers Johnson, employment attorney
The Seattle Times recently reported on a state case involving a claim of “outrage”. A man did not like the fact that his neighbor was giving piano lessons in her home. He filed a complaint to stop her and then sued. He lost, and paid $30,000 for court costs and her legal fees. In response he parked his big truck outside of her house. He then repeatedly remote-started it, revved the engine and sounded the alarm. This tended to scare off students and interfere with her lessons. The music teacher sued and won. Continue reading
by Chalmers Johnson, Employment Attorney
Trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming employees in the workplace
This week, The Seattle Times reported that Merriman-Webster added “they” to the American/English language as a pronoun for a “single person whose gender is nonbinary.” As an employment lawyer, I had to ask myself, “how is this going to affect the workplace?”
My inquiry led me to a chat with my brother, an employee of the City of Portland, Oregon. To him, this issue is an old one. Apparently the City requires its employees to include, a sign-off on their emails, to state a preferred set of pronouns, including they/them, and other employees are required to use that pronoun set when addressing the employee in the third person.
Trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming employees and the law