June 8, 2020
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Top Stories

Fourteen counties approved for new phases in 'Safe Start' reopening plan

Six counties, including Clark, Pierce and Snohomish, have been approved to move into Phase 2 of the state's "Safe Start" reopening plan. Seven rural counties have also been approved to move into Phase 3. King County can move into a modified Phase 1 that includes manufacturing reopening.

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Unexpectedly positive national jobs report shows 2.5 million jobs added in May

The historic loss of jobs in April has unexpectedly turned to a remarkable return to work in May. New national jobs figures released last week saw a major uptick in employment, with 2.5 million new jobs. Still, while the national unemployment rate improved, it stands at a stark 13.3%.

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Businesses take steps to listen, support during national protests

Washington employers are responding to the calls for justice in local and national protests over the police killings of unarmed black men and women. "We have to be very careful not to assume that this experiment that we have called 'America' can withstand our apathy right now," said Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.

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From coronavirus to carbon, virtual Spring Meeting covers what's on the mind of business

AWB's first virtual Spring Meeting was a great success, with more than 400 people joining the day-long discussion. Top legislators joined leading manufacturers and industry innovators on a wide range of topics. Join us for our next big virtual event, the Federal Affairs Summit on Aug. 11.

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Three new categories for the 2020 Washington Excellence Awards

The Washington Excellence Awards is one of our favorite annual programs because it gives AWB the chance to recognize and celebrate Washington employers. It allows us to showcase all that Washington employers have to offer. Starting in 2020, our annual awards have a new look and some additional award categories. Take five minutes now to nominate a business making a positive difference in our state.

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Rebound and Recovery resources continue to expand their reach and impact

AWB's new Rebound and Recovery site has seen thousands of visits as businesses look for key personal protective equipment and download plans for how to safely reopen. Check out the free PPE Connect directory and Business Tool Kit.

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Save the date: AWB invites you to "Connect with Congress" on August 11

AWB hosted timely, informative conversations with our state representatives last week at Spring Meeting. Now it's time to secure your spot to engage with our federal representatives on Tuesday, Aug. 11. We are pleased to announce that Federal Affairs Summit this year will be all online, so you can join us from the safe distance of your home or office. Register now.

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AWB weekly webinar returns June 10 to cover supply chain and economic impacts

As more areas move into new phases of the Safe Start Washington reopening plan, the COVID-19 Employer Resources Webinar Series we will bring employers industry-specific resources to help you get back to business. This Wednesday, June 10: tune in to get the latest global supply chain data and learn how your business might be impacted. Register online now!

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Federal Issues

Senate approves extension of Paycheck Protection Program

Congress has voted to extend loan forgiveness to 24 weeks from the previous eight weeks, but some business leaders say the help is too late.

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Other News

Deadline approaching for quarterly and annual state business tax filers

Quarterly and annual business tax filers received automatic due date extensions because of the COVID-19 crises. Those extended Quarter 1, 2020 and the Annual 2019 excise tax return due dates are fast approaching.

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Hospitality reopening guide now available to members

AWB's CompWise program has created free reopening guides for all employers, even those who are not part of the retrospective rating program. The latest guide is for the hospitality industry.

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Employers urged to take part in national child care survey

AWB is supporting an effort by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to understand how employers have been affected by the COVID-9 pandemic, particularly in regard to the child care needs of employees.

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Seattle's Athira Pharma lands $85 million in financing for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's cure

Biotech research company Athira Pharma, formerly known as M3 Biotechnology, has raised $85 million in a new funding round for pivotal testing of its drug that aims to restore brain function in Alzheimer's patients.

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Report: Pandemic could impact a generation of working mothers

Women have carried an outsized share of the burden as the pandemic ravaged the economy. That could affect their earning potential and work opportunities for a lifetime.

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Applications open for Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders

Applications are now being accepted for the Don C. Brunell Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year. The scholarship of up to $1,000 is available for college, vocational, certificate or graduate programs. Applicants must be the child or grandchild of an AWB member or employee. The deadline is June 30.

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Employee Assistance Programs are more important than ever

AWB's HealthChoice coverage includes a free employee assistance program, giving your employees someone to talk with 24 hours a day.

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AWB Events & Resources

THIS WEEK: Employment Law Webinar on June 10 covers non-competes, confidentiality and intellectual property

Learn the latest developments in laws about non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations and intellectual property protection during AWB's next HR & Employment Law webinar this Wednesday, June 10. There will be more relevant topics in the following July webinar on L&I compliance and accident prevention/investigation. Register online for this and other timely webinars!

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Tweet of the Week

#MFGisWA



They Said It

Back to School?

"Trying to adapt to these times we're in right now is going to take a heavy lift on the part of our districts." ~ Michaela Miller, deputy superintendent of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, about what public school classes will look like in the fall. The Seattle Times reports that a 123-member work group met virtually Tuesday to discuss reopening options and begin mapping out everything from transportation to school lunch in a world transformed by the novel coronavirus.




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A Unifying Voice


Employers join the calls for justice

By AWB President Kris Johnson

So much has happened in communities all across the country over the past few weeks, including here in Washington.

It's clear the challenges we're facing right now are enormous and daunting, and yet I'm encouraged to see so many individuals and employers speaking out about the need to address issues of inequality and injustice. People like Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines, who wrote to Alaska and Horizon employees this week, saying, "there is much work left to be done to make this country and our company places where everyone is accepted, respected, feels safe, and has equal access to opportunity, regardless of the color of their skin."

Or Amazon, which will be donating $10 million to organizations that are working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of black and African-Americans. The company's Black Employee Network helped pick the recipients.

For AWB, this is an opportunity to determine how we can best contribute to the effort to create equality in opportunity for all Washingtonians. Our mission is to be a catalytic leader and unifying voice for economic prosperity throughout Washington. This includes not only every community and industry, but all people, too.

One of the most important ways we can learn is by listening. I want to hear what you have to say. Please contact me with your ideas on how AWB can help listen to and lead Washington employers during this important time for our state and nation.

Child Care: a Crucial Resource


As economy reopens, who will watch the kids?

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

As parents of small children head back to workplaces during Washington's phased reopening, they will need access to safe, affordable, quality child care.

As longtime child-care advocate state Rep. Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island, puts it, there will be no economic recovery without child care. The two go hand in hand.

But the state's child-care providers have been walloped by this spring's public-health emergency, as costs increased and attendance nose-dived. Around the state, hundreds of large and small providers have closed at least temporarily as a result of COVID-19 and its ripple effects in communities and on the economy. Others are barely scraping by...

Moving forward, ongoing social-distancing guidelines will as much as nearly double the cost of providing child care for some age groups, according to a ChildCare Aware WA analysis -- from $11,066 to $21,581 per year for the average preschooler in a mid-sized center and from $15,372 to $24,674 for a toddler...

The pandemic has left no doubt: Child care is an essential part of the economy, our communities and access to opportunity. As the crisis wanes, policymakers, employers and voters should focus attention on long-term solutions ensuring access to this vital resource...

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times