Gov. Inslee is deeply saddened by the death of Pierce County Deputy Cooper Dyson, 25, and directs that Washington State and United States flags at all state agency facilities, including schools and support buildings, be lowered to half-staff in his memory on Monday, December 30, 2019. Deputy Dyson died in the line of duty when his patrol car crashed while on his way to back up other officers on an urgent domestic violence call.
Flags should remain at half-staff until close of business or sunset on Monday, December 30, 2019.
The IRS has created a new Payroll Form W-4 for 2020. Newly hired employees in 2020 or any employees hired prior to 2020 who wish to adjust their withholdings in 2020 must use the redesigned form.
This new design reduces the complexity of the process and improves the withholding system’s clarity and reliability. In the past, the value of a withholding allowance was tied to the amount of the personal exemption. Due to changes in law, currently you cannot claim personal exemptions or dependency exemptions. Allowances are no longer used for the redesigned Form W-4, therefore you cannot complete the old W-4 Form.
Key Points to Remember:
- New Form Name “Employee’s Withholding Certification.”
- No longer uses allowances which have been tied to the amount of personal exemptions.
- Form is now divided into 5 steps. Steps 1 and 5 are required. Steps 2-4 are optional.
- There are 5 worksheets in Publication 15-T (Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods).
- Only newly hired employees in 2020 or any employees hired prior to 2020 who wish to adjust their withholdings in 2020 must use the redesigned form.
Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.
Here is our newest honoree:
Monique Farland, Field Technician, Technology
I want to nominate Monique Farland for Everyday Heroes. She has spent hours working in my classroom to help me with a major software issue this week. She has been communicative, professional and gone over and above my expectations. Thank you Monique!
Submitted by Mark Zarate, Teacher, Olympia High School
How to nominate an Everyday Hero
- Email the Communications and Community Relations Department (firstname.lastname@example.org) a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
- Write “Everyday Heroes” in the subject heading of the email.
- Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
- Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
- Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.
All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.
The school district is offering several benefits packages that are supplemental to the new health care benefits through the state Health Care Authority. These benefits include Short Term Disability, Accident, Cancer/Critical Illness, Cancer Screening, Hospital Coverage, Long-Term Care, and Legal, ID Protection, and Pet Insurance.
Open enrollment has been extended through December 20. Benefits begin January 1, 2020.
The Payroll Office has brochures for each type of insurance. Please stop by to pick one up.
Carefully consider the following: The district will offer supplemental benefits now. This year only there are NO medical questions related to signing up for these benefits and NO waiting periods for pre-existing conditions. Supplemental benefits typically carry pre-existing conditions exclusions, but these are all waived during this introductory time. (Insurance companies typically waive questions when new benefits are introduced to employees).
In the future, employees may contact N.W. Benefit Advisors directly. In any future enrollment there will be medical questions to answer. Waiting periods and exclusions for pre-existing conditions WILL also apply next year. Take some time and consider these options now!
If you want more information you can contact Claudia De Alba at (425) 458-4988 or email@example.com. They have evening and weekend phone appointments.
The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled, in a narrow 5-4 decision, in WPEA v. Freedom Foundation that public employees’ names and dates of birth are subject to disclosure under the Washington State Public Records Act. This means that OSD employee birthdates are no longer exempt and will not be redacted or withheld from public disclosure in response to a public records request.
Employee personal contact information such as home address, home phone, home email address and social security number are still exempt from public disclosure under RCW 42.56.250(3) when found in an employee file. However, should you choose to share this type of information in an email, it cannot be redacted or withheld as exempt.
For additional information about this ruling or any other questions concerning the Public Records Act, please contact me.
In the last month the Technology Department “Phish” tested our district staff with the following email. It probably looks very familiar, as the minute it went out our Help Desk and the Communications department received many alert calls about its suspicious nature.
We sent this message to determine a baseline risk potential for our district, as well as determine a need for further phishing training. Based on the results, we did fairly well as a district, coming in below the typical industry standard score of an organization our size. We had a “Phish Prone” score of 22.8% compared to the industry average of 27.7%.
Specifically in this message we measured whether or not a user opened the message (which is completely fine), clicked on the link, and if clicked, entered information. The information above is what was used to calculate our score. Based on our responses and score, we plan to provide more phishing education for you in the future, as well as occasional tests to measure our progress.
In this email, there were four items that recipients should have looked for:
- The sender and domain. Often times phishers can “spoof” (fake) domains so that emails look authentic. Even if the domain looks correct, is the user someone you are familiar with?
- The subject line is trying to convey a sense of urgency. Phishers often try to take advantage of urgent situations to get you act before you think through the situation clearly.
- The email is directing you to click on or open a link. Urgent emails directing you to click or open something should be a warning that more inspection is warranted.
- When you mouse over/hover the link, the URL doesn’t match. Typically when you hover over a link, in the browser window you will see the URL (web address). If the URL does not sensibly match the sender or content of the email, this should be a warning.
Phishing emails are not going away and our automated filters will occasionally let some pass through. If you encounter an email that you feel is suspicious, but are not sure, contact the Help Desk at Ext. 6172 and they can provide guidance.
For more information related to Phishing and Social Engineering, this video from Google for Education is a great place to start. Stay Safe from Phishing and Scams