The governor’s office on Monday directed state agencies to begin notifying state workers of potential layoffs if there’s no budget deal by the end of the month.
Gov. Jay Inslee sent out a personal note to state employees saying, “I know today will be difficult for many of you. Temporary layoff notices will begin being distributed this afternoon as required by law, and I know those notices will generate a high level of anxiety, uncertainty and frustration … I’m doing everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen – and if legislators send me an agreed-upon budget, it won’t.”
In addition, his budget office directed state agencies to immediately begin sending out notices to workers saying that “as of this afternoon, the Legislature has not yet reached agreement on the 2013–15 operating and capital budgets. Therefore, effective immediately, agencies should begin sending out notices required to inform affected employees of a potential temporary layoff. Layoffs will be necessary if a budget is not adopted by midnight on June 30, 2013.”
The notices were expected to go out to around 26,000 general state government employees over the next several days if there’s no budget deal. Higher education, public schools and statewide elected officials — such as the attorney general and secretary of state — are responsible for their own notifications.
Templates were provided to agencies as well, including this one:
This is official notification that unless there is an approved 2013-15 operating budget, or in some instances a capital budget, beginning July 1, 2013, you will be temporarily laid off from your exempt position. The duration of this temporary layoff is unknown.
• You are directed not to perform any work duties while temporarily laid off.
• If you are scheduled to be on any form of approved paid leave during the temporary layoff, your leave approval is rescinded.
• Time spent on temporary layoff is not considered time in pay status for the purpose of holiday compensation.
• Time spent on temporary layoff is not considered time in pay status for the purpose of vacation and sick leave accruals.
Once the state has an approved a 2013-15 budget that funds your position, it is expected you will return to work on your next scheduled work day. The state has set up a website and toll free number to let all employees know when state employees should return to work.
Negotiators indicated Monday that they were very close to a deal, but they’ve been saying that for several days now.