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Thank you all for the outstanding collaborative work that you continue to provide to our patients and their families. We realize that as the pandemic continues, we have had members of our healthcare team who have become symptomatic with COVID-19 infection. In addition to concern for their well-being, we know that they have also been concerned about how they will be paid while out of work. We write now to clarify this.

The recently passed federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act contains two leave provisions that offer limited paid leave for sick employees, those caring for sick household members and those with children who no longer have access to daycare or school due to the COVID-19-related closures. The limited paid leave is not intended to fully compensate employees for lost wages but provides a buffer against losses.

Under the law, employers are permitted to exempt medical professionals and other workers who are needed to keep hospitals and similar healthcare facilities well supplied and operational. The purpose of this exemption is to provide sufficient flexibility to the healthcare community to make necessary staffing decisions to address the COVID-19 public health emergency and to ensure healthcare facilities are able to maintain the staff to perform critical services needed to battle COVID-19.

After considering the huge impact this pandemic has had on our employees and their families, but also our shared obligation to respond as a critical healthcare resource during the pandemic, UW Medicine has exempted the following categories of individuals: 1) medical center employees, 2) shared services and central services employees, 3) UW School of Medicine faculty who provide clinical care to patients, 4) trainees who provide clinical care to patients, 5) employees of the School of Medicine Department of Laboratory Medicine and 6) employees of UW Neighborhood Clinics.

Although federally exempt, UW Medicine has taken steps to make sure that you are paid for time out of work because of COVID-19 illness. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please complete a symptom survey at: Redcap Survey to determine if you are eligible for testing at a UW Medicine testing facility.

  • Human Resources for UW Medical Centers or UW Neighborhood Clinics will assist in enrolling those who test positive for COVID-19 due to a potential workplace exposure in the Washington state workers’ compensation program, which covers roughly 60% of usual wages. UW Medicine will supplement those workers’ compensation payments with COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave so that employees receive their full compensation while ill.
  • If Labor & Industries denies workers’ compensation benefits to any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 due to a potential workplace exposure, UW Medicine will provide COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave during the duration of their illness.
  • The same requirements and benefit provisions will apply for trainees, with administrative assistance from GME.
  • For faculty, most providers have paid sick leave available, with which to weather COVID-19-related illness, but additional leave will be provided as appropriate.
  • For staff and nonfaculty providers, UW Medicine’s COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave is separate from and in addition to any accrued leave and is not subject to the federal leave caps. It is our goal to keep employees whole if unable to work because of COVID-19-related illness.

You can find more information about the process for enrolling in workers’ compensation benefits at Workers’ Compensation at UW. For UW Neighborhood Clinic employees, this information is available from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

We are here to support you and are committed to taking care of all members of our community. We are so proud to be working with all of you and thank you for your continued response to the call to duty to our patients, the community and each other.


Lisa Brandenburg
President, UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics

Timothy H. Dellit, MD
Chief Medical Officer, UW Medicine
President, UW Physicians