Punching the Clock: Washington State Advances Talks on Remote Work Rule

A committee working on a permanent remote work rule aims to finalize a draft recommendation for CAB consideration during its meeting next week.

10/23/2020 11:00 AM

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Punching the Clock: Washington State Advances Talks on Remote Work Rule

The Washington State Collection Agency Licensing Board (CAB) Rule Committee is moving forward on the state’s work-from-home rule and will consider a draft during its meeting Oct. 29—one that could set a precedent for the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry and for other states to follow suit.

ACA International Vice President of State Unit and Government Affairs Andrew Madden and ACA member Kevin Underwood, attorney with Linebarger Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP, serve among six subject matter experts on the rule committee. The committee also includes two CAB members including ACA member Mark Case, general counsel for Receivables Performance Management LLC.

The original temporary work-from-home rule was established in June and recently extended until Feb. 17, 2021, ACA previously reported.

This temporary rule is intended to allow employees of collection agencies to work remotely, but it does not alter any requirements of the Washington Collection Agency Act (WAC) regarding collection activity, according to the CAB rule approved in June. While the temporary rule is in place, licensed agencies with employees working remotely should continue to conduct business in a manner consistent with collection agency laws and rules and protect data.

Underwood told ACA recently that remote work programs are prevalent in Washington under the temporary rule and most collectors who work for his firm are doing so off-site.

He said the rule committee is working toward a permanent rule with requirements that are focused on issues specific to the remote work environment, such as data security.

“Everyone on the industry side recognizes there are different risks, so we’re all willing to work on that,” Underwood said. “The temporary rule requires secure channels and passwords, so we’ll retain those (under the permanent rule).”

According to the draft permanent rule under consideration, “remote work occurs when an employee performs collection activity for a licensee from the employee’s ‘virtual office.’”

A licensee may allow qualified employees to perform collection activities from virtual offices if the following requirements, such as keeping a current record of employees who are permitted to perform collection activities from a virtual office and their contact information and virtual office location address; providing employees with a written agreement or checklist signed by the employee to ensure confidentiality of consumer data; and advising the employee their collection agency activities are subject to review and calls to and from the virtual office will be monitored and recorded, are met.

The proposed rule would require consistent recording and monitoring of calls in which employees are performing collection activities and call recordings must be maintained for a minimum of four years.

Industry stakeholders on the rule committee are advocating for the permanent remote work rule to focus on issues related only to remote work and to keep requirements such as call recording and monitoring specific to performing collection activities separate.

A complete list of the proposed changes for the permanent rule is available here.

Underwood said the final rule in Washington could certainly set a precedent for other states to follow.

“It’s certainly one of the swings at this issue,” he said. “There are only three states that currently address remote work statutorily. For the other states that have brick and mortar requirements or branch requirements like Washington, it could serve as a model.”

Comments on the draft under consideration by the rule committee are due by noon PDT, Tuesday, Oct. 27, to jkonnersma@dol.wa.gov; there will be another round of public comments once the draft is approved by the CAB.

The committee will review the comments at their next meeting at noon PDT Thursday, Oct. 29. The meetings are open to the public via Zoom to allow any individual to observe the proceedings and provide comments or questions at the end of each committee meeting.

Related Content from ACA International:

Washington Collection Agency Board Extends Remote Work Rule into February


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Punching the Clock: Washington State Advances Talks on Remote Work Rule

The Washington State Collection Agency Licensing Board (CAB) Rule Committee is moving forward on the state’s work-from-home rule and will consider a draft during its meeting Oct. 29—one that could set a precedent for the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry and for other states to follow suit.

ACA International Vice President of State Unit and Government Affairs Andrew Madden and ACA member Kevin Underwood, attorney with Linebarger Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP, serve among six subject matter experts on the rule committee. The committee also includes two CAB members including ACA member Mark Case, general counsel for Receivables Performance Management LLC.

The original temporary work-from-home rule was established in June and recently extended until Feb. 17, 2021, ACA previously reported.

This temporary rule is intended to allow employees of collection agencies to work remotely, but it does not alter any requirements of the Washington Collection Agency Act (WAC) regarding collection activity, according to the CAB rule approved in June. While the temporary rule is in place, licensed agencies with employees working remotely should continue to conduct business in a manner consistent with collection agency laws and rules and protect data.

Underwood told ACA recently that remote work programs are prevalent in Washington under the temporary rule and most collectors who work for his firm are doing so off-site.

He said the rule committee is working toward a permanent rule with requirements that are focused on issues specific to the remote work environment, such as data security.

“Everyone on the industry side recognizes there are different risks, so we’re all willing to work on that,” Underwood said. “The temporary rule requires secure channels and passwords, so we’ll retain those (under the permanent rule).”

According to the draft permanent rule under consideration, “remote work occurs when an employee performs collection activity for a licensee from the employee’s ‘virtual office.’”

A licensee may allow qualified employees to perform collection activities from virtual offices if the following requirements, such as keeping a current record of employees who are permitted to perform collection activities from a virtual office and their contact information and virtual office location address; providing employees with a written agreement or checklist signed by the employee to ensure confidentiality of consumer data; and advising the employee their collection agency activities are subject to review and calls to and from the virtual office will be monitored and recorded, are met.

The proposed rule would require consistent recording and monitoring of calls in which employees are performing collection activities and call recordings must be maintained for a minimum of four years.

Industry stakeholders on the rule committee are advocating for the permanent remote work rule to focus on issues related only to remote work and to keep requirements such as call recording and monitoring specific to performing collection activities separate.

A complete list of the proposed changes for the permanent rule is available here.

Underwood said the final rule in Washington could certainly set a precedent for other states to follow.

“It’s certainly one of the swings at this issue,” he said. “There are only three states that currently address remote work statutorily. For the other states that have brick and mortar requirements or branch requirements like Washington, it could serve as a model.”

Comments on the draft under consideration by the rule committee are due by noon PDT, Tuesday, Oct. 27, to jkonnersma@dol.wa.gov; there will be another round of public comments once the draft is approved by the CAB.

The committee will review the comments at their next meeting at noon PDT Thursday, Oct. 29. The meetings are open to the public via Zoom to allow any individual to observe the proceedings and provide comments or questions at the end of each committee meeting.

Related Content from ACA International:

Washington Collection Agency Board Extends Remote Work Rule into February


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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