To comply with furloughs ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, the Department of Social and Health Services will close its offices every Monday through July 20. Offices will be closed on June 29, July 6, July 13 and July 20. (Offices are also closed on July 3 for the Fourth of July holiday.)
Many services won’t be available and clients won’t be able to get in touch with most DSHS employees on these days.
However, some employees are exempt from the furloughs. Essential employees will still work at 24/7 facilities, including Eastern and Western State hospitals, the Special Commitment Center and residential habilitation centers and state-operated living alternatives for the developmentally disabled. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Economic Service Administration’s Division of Disability Determination are also exempt from the furloughs because they are largely federally funded.
After July 20, DHSH will furlough employees one day a month through at least November. Cancelled raises and furloughs are expected to save $55 million over the next year.
“We know Washingtonians are hurting right now,” Secretary Cheryl Strange said in a news release Thursday. “It pains us that we won’t be there for several days this summer and fall, but these temporary closures will help save money now so that we can ensure we are there in the future for Washingtonians in need.”
Statewide, DSHS has more than 17,000 employees and serves more than 2 million Washingtonians.