- State Updates: Washington; Washington, D.C.
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- RMAI COVID-19 Resources
State Updates – Order and Rule Extensions
Washington, D.C. Extends COVID Order
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayor of Washington, D.C. issued a ban on collections within its jurisdiction to last until 60 days after the emergency order is lifted. The Mayor’s Order has now been extended to last through December 31, 2020.
So, what does this mean? As a practical matter, unless the ban is extended yet again, the ban on collections extends through 60 days after December 31, 2020 (January = 31 days + February = 28 days + 1 day = 60 days) or March 1, 2021. Members should be mindful of the extension of the collection ban until the expiration of the Mayor’s Order to prevent collection activity within D.C. until the ban expires.
In addition to the impact of the Mayor’s Order on collection activity, members who intend to travel into or out of DC, should be aware of its stringent quarantine requirements. Click here to review the details of Phase II of Washington, D.C.’s Reopening.
Washington State Collection Agency Board Extends Statewide Remote Work Rules
In June of 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington State Collection Agency Board (CAB) implemented a temporary work from home rule for employees of licensed collection agencies. In order to provide the committee that is working on a new permanent work from home rule with additional time to develop the rule, the CAB extended the temporary work from home rule until February 17, 2020.
Important definitions included in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) include:
“Remote work” is the practice of working from home or other alternative location through the use of technology, which allows the employee to access normal work material (email, telephone, electronic documents, etc.) Remote work may be scheduled or on an ad hoc basis.
“Branch office” is any location physically separated from the principal place of business of a licensee where the licensee conducts any activity meeting the criteria of a collection agency or out-of-state collection agency as defined in RCW 19.16.100.
An employee of a licensee shall not be deemed a “collection agency” or a “branch office” as defined in chapter 19.16.100(5)(a) RCW and the employee need not have a license to perform collection activities on behalf of the collection agency, whether working in the collection agency office or working remotely.
So, what does this mean? The CAB’s work from home extension does not impact any of the state’s collection agency compliance requirements. According to CAB, the temporary rule is a single purpose rules which creates an exemption for work from home collectors from the definition of branch office. Members should be mindful, the exemption from the definition of branch office is not an extension from the Washington State Collection Agency requirements. Employees working remotely should continue to conduct business in a manner consistent with collection agency laws, rules and data protection restrictions. Review the CAB’s adopted rule, WAC 308-29-085 Remote Work Requirements.
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RMAI COVID-19 Resources
Visit the RMAI COVID-19 resource page on the RMAI website to access other legislative and regulatory guidance and relevant information, RMAI Member Alerts, COVID-19 recorded webinars, and more.
This alert is intended for members of the Receivables Management Association International and is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to provide legal advice. Members are encouraged to consult with an attorney of their choice for legal advice concerning this matter.