DSHS to furlough some employees, reduce hours at all statewide agencies

Furloughs and reduced office hours to take effect June 29 through July 20

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services will be furloughing some employees and closing its offices across the state on Monday each week starting June 29 through July 20 to comply with Governor Jay Inslee’s order last week related to canceling a scheduled three percent general wage increase for many of the state’s government employees.

During this time, DSHS offices will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. After July 20, offices will shut down one day a month through at least November, according to a press release. Services will not be available to the public and clients will not be able to get in touch with DSHS employees during furlough days.

Not all staff members of DSHS will be furloughed as essential employees will still report to work at 24/7 facilities, such as Eastern and Western State hospitals, the Special Commitment Center, and residential habilitation centers and state-operated living alternatives for the developmentally disabled, the release states.

“We know Washingtonians are hurting right now,” DSHS Secretary Cheryl Strange said. “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.”

According to Gov. Inslee’s Office, the canceled raises and furloughs, once enacted by all cabinet agencies, will save an estimated $55 million over the next year.

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