Assaults to employees — Reimbursement for costs.
(1) For purposes of this section only, "assault" means an unauthorized touching of an employee by a resident, patient, or juvenile offender resulting in physical injury to the employee.
(2) In recognition of the hazardous nature of employment in state institutions, the legislature hereby provides a supplementary program to reimburse employees of the department of social and health services, the department of natural resources, and the department of veterans affairs for some of their costs attributable to their being the victims of assault by residents, patients, or juvenile offenders. This program shall be limited to the reimbursement provided in this section.
(3) An employee is only entitled to receive the reimbursement provided in this section if the secretary of social and health services, the commissioner of public lands, or the director of the department of veterans affairs, or the secretary's, commissioner's, or director's designee, finds that each of the following has occurred:
(a) A resident or patient has assaulted the employee and as a result thereof the employee has sustained demonstrated physical injuries which have required the employee to miss days of work;
(b) The assault cannot be attributable to any extent to the employee's negligence, misconduct, or failure to comply with any rules or conditions of employment; and
(c) The department of labor and industries has approved the employee's workers' compensation application pursuant to chapter 51.32 RCW.
(4) The reimbursement authorized under this section shall be as follows:
(a) The employee's accumulated sick leave days shall not be reduced for the workdays missed;
(b) For each workday missed for which the employee is not eligible to receive compensation under chapter 51.32 RCW, the employee shall receive full pay; and
(c) In respect to workdays missed for which the employee will receive or has received compensation under chapter 51.32 RCW, the employee shall be reimbursed in an amount which, when added to that compensation, will result in the employee receiving full pay for the workdays missed.
(5) Reimbursement under this section may not last longer than three hundred sixty-five consecutive days after the date of the injury.
(6) The employee shall not be entitled to the reimbursement provided in subsection (4) of this section for any workday for which the secretary, commissioner, director, or applicable designee, finds that the employee has not diligently pursued his or her compensation remedies under chapter 51.32 RCW.
(7) The reimbursement shall only be made for absences which the secretary, commissioner, director, or applicable designee believes are justified.
(8) While the employee is receiving reimbursement under this section, he or she shall continue to be classified as a state employee and the reimbursement amount shall be considered as salary or wages.
(9) All reimbursement payments required to be made to employees under this section shall be made by the employing department. The payments shall be considered as a salary or wage expense and shall be paid by the department in the same manner and from the same appropriations as other salary and wage expenses of the department.
(10) Should the legislature revoke the reimbursement authorized under this section or repeal this section, no affected employee is entitled thereafter to receive the reimbursement as a matter of contractual right.
[2002 c 77 § 1; 1990 c 153 § 1; 1987 c 102 § 1; 1986 c 269 § 4.]