Employers Ask for Temporary Halt to New Regulations
Pause in rulemaking would allow businesses, state agencies to focus on COVID-19 battle
OLYMPIA — A coalition of 55 Washington employers, business and trade associations called on Gov. Jay Inslee today to temporarily halt new rulemaking, a move that would free up both private and public sector resources to fight the coronavirus.
Many businesses have been unable to fully participate in the rulemaking process, which is proceeding on previously established timelines. These employers have been unable to provide feedback or devote enough attention to help create workable regulations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. An example would include the implementation schedule for the state's new Executive, Administrative and Professional overtime rule, which has been a major concern for many employers.
"A temporary pause in new rules and regulations would allow employers to focus on getting through the next few months of the coronavirus pandemic," said Association of Washington President Kris Johnson. "Many small businesses are entirely focused on financing, making payroll and adapting to new safety measures. This pause would allow employers to focus their energy on adapting to this historic crisis."
A similar rulemaking pause was enacted during the Great Recession. Today's letter requests a halt of ongoing development of new, non-critical rules and the implementation of any rule due in the coming six months.
"We understand this is a dramatic step but would, we believe, provide immediate relief for businesses across the state and free up important state resources to go towards managing the COVID-19 response," the letter reads.
Employers of all sizes have been impacted, but small businesses have borne the greatest costs, the letter continues.
"These smaller businesses have had to shed the greatest number of staff but are also the key to ramping up our economy once this health crisis has been resolved," the letter continues. "Currently the owners of these businesses are consumed by the need to provide for their employees and their livelihoods and have no time or attention to participate in the rulemaking process."
The letter was signed by the Association of Washington Business, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Dairy Federation, Washington Hospitality Association, Washington Retail Association, Associated General Contractors, the Building Industry Association of Washington, several chambers of commerce and other private employers and trade groups.