COVID-19 Food Production Worker Paid Leave Program

This Washington state program requires and reimburses certain food production employers for paying leave to workers who may or do have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and is meant to complement the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Agricultural workers in field picking potatoes


On Aug. 13, 2020, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-67, “Food Production Workers Paid Leave” while concurrently setting aside $3 million to fund the program. 

The proclamation requires certain food production employers to pay leave for workers who may or do have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and is meant to complement the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

The FFCRA exempts employers with greater than 500 employees.  Now in Washington, food production employers exempt from the FFCRA will be covered under the state’s paid leave program.

Between Aug. 18 and Nov. 13, workers who are employed at certain food production companies are entitled to paid leave for up to 80 hours of time lost due to a COVID-19 positive or pending diagnosis. 

Employers who are made aware of sick or symptomatic workers must continue paying their employees for time away at a rate of $10.75 per hour.  The maximum benefit is $860. 

At the end of the window, employers will apply for reimbursement for paid leave expenditures with the state.

This effort is meant to support workers so that they are not forced to choose between financial security and their own health and that of their coworkers and community.

By creating a reimbursement program, employers do not have to shoulder the economic burden alone.  They are therefore able to make an initial investment in the well-being of their workforce to protect against large outbreaks. 

The state is investing in numerous programs to aid underserved communities, who are suffering during this pandemic.  As one example, Washington has announced a forthcoming immigrant worker relief fund in the amount of $40 million.


Apply now

Please be sure to submit your application by Sept. 18, 2020 to the Department of Commerce.  Stacey Voigt will be accepting these applications and will work on the agreement with you to move forward.

Food Production Workers Paid Leave Employer Plan Application (web)

Register for a new Statewide Vendor Number (SWV) (web)

At the time of application submittal, please be sure to submit your request for the Statewide Vendor Number, which ensure payments can be made to your business.

Program Guidelines and Important Forms

Need help?

Stacey Voigt
CARES Act Projects Manager
Department of Commerce
Phone: 360.725.4047

Jaclyn Perez
Grants, Contract, Procurement Specialist
Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness
Department of Commerce
Phone: 360.725.4049
Cell: 360.628.9756

Alejandro Sanchez
Special Assistant
Office of Governor Jay Inslee
Phone: 360.902.4124