• State Update: Washington
  • RMAI COVID-19 Resources

State Updates – Emergency Rule

Washington State Department of Licensing Extends Temporary Work from Home – Permanent Rule in Process

Effective October 20, 2020, the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) confirmed its decision to extend the emergency rule allowing employees of collection agencies the option to work remotely on a temporary basis. While the emergency rule is in place, the DOL will work to finalize a permanent work from home rule. As previously reported in the October 15, 2020, Member Alert, and reiterated by the DOL, the extension does not in any way alter the requirements of the Collection Agency Act for collection activity.

Click here for the October 20, 2020, Adopted Emergency Rule

Click here for the November 3, 2020, Proposed Permanent Rule Language – WAC 308-29-010(2), 308-29-085

So, what does this mean? Members who collect debt in the State of Washington may continue to allow their employees to work from home in accordance with the requirements of the Collection Agency Act. The DOL’s adoption of an emergency rule for this purpose does not relax the requirements of the State’s Collection Agency Act and expires February 17, 2021.

The temporary amendments permitting collection agencies to take advantage of the right to work from home first took effect on June 22, 2020. For your reference, the amendments are highlighted below in green. The DOL is actively working on its draft of a final rule permitting a remote workforce for collections. Once the draft is completed, the DOL will publish the rule for notice and comment.

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 01-11-132, filed 5/22/01, effective 6/22/01)
WAC 308-29-010 Definitions.

(1) Words and terms used in these rules have the same meaning as each has under chapter 19.16 RCW unless otherwise clearly provided in these rules, or the context in which they are used in these rules clearly indicates that they be given some other meaning.

(2) “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.

(3) “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.

(3) An employee of a licensee shall not be deemed a “collection agency” or a “branch office” as defined in RCW 19.16.100 (5)(a) 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.

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.

RMAI’s Commitment to Consumers and FAQs is posted in the Resources for Businesses, Employers and Consumers section of the COVID-19 resource page as well as on the Consumers page of the RMAI website.

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.