King County Council extends benefits, income for active-duty employees

November 22, 2011

By Staff

Just before Veterans Day, King County Council members extended salary and benefits for county employees serving as National Guard and reserve service members.

The council approved legislation to cover all county employees called to active duty. For some county employees, being called to active duty means taking a pay cut, because their military salary is less than their county compensation — a particular challenge if the service member is the only wage earner in his or her household.

Under the legislation, county employees called to active duty become eligible for military leave differential pay if their military pay is less than their county income. The employees can continue to receive full health and other benefits through the county as well.

Councilmen Bob Ferguson and Joe McDermott, alongside County Executive Dow Constantine, developed the ordinance.

“Individuals who answer the call to serve our nation deserve our appreciation and support,” Ferguson said in a statement. “County employees and their families should not bear the burden of being forced to make do with less, while also worrying about their own or a loved one’s safety overseas.”

In 2010, 29 county employees departed for active military duty.

“I am pleased that this legislation will allow us to do all that we can to support those who serve our country,” Constantine said in a statement. “I thank our employees who are devoted to public service, through both King County government and the military.”

The ordinance codifies a county policy put into place by executive order shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The earlier policy, however, only applied to county employees serving in the military on or before the attacks. The updated measure applies to all county employees serving in the military.

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