Legislation from Rep. Volz to assist those recovering from a wildfire is headed to the Senate after unanimous vote in the House

Legislation that would allow state employees to take shared leave when living in an area affected by a wildfire or other emergency or disaster, received unanimous approval from the Washington State House of Representatives on Friday.

Under House Bill 2283, public employees would be able to use their shared leave bank to help their colleagues in a time of crisis, under all the conditions that currently exist, after the affected employees have first used all other types of leave.

“When people are facing a disaster, they already have enough to worry about, including losing their homes and all their personal belongings, and whether their insurance is going to cover their loss,” said Volz, R-Spokane. “They shouldn’t have to worry about having enough time off from work while they try to recover. This bill could at least give them a small sense of relief during an otherwise terrible situation.”

Under the bill, shared leave would be permitted for an employee who lives in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. “Emergency or disaster” is defined to mean any set of circumstances that:

  • Demands immediate action to preserve public health, protect life, protect public property, or to provide relief to any stricken community overtaken by such occurrences.
  • Or that reaches such a dimension or degree of destructiveness to warrant the proclaiming a state of emergency by the governor.

Covered employees would also include those employed by school districts and educational service districts.

“This bill is very simple. It doesn’t add or take away any leave, and it doesn’t cost any additional money. It just allows someone to share their leave with someone else in need during a crisis,” said Volz. “This can make a huge difference to a person who is struggling with the aftermath of a disaster or emergency.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications