Am I a Section 4 employee?

The Ethics in Public Service Act allows certain state employees to keep gifts with an aggregate value of fifty dollars from a single source in a calendar year or a single gift from multiple sources with a value of fifty dollars.  However, if you have been deemed a “Section 4” employee, this $50 gift rule does NOT apply to you.

Section 4 refers to paragraph 4 of the Limitations on Gifts section of the Ethics Act - RCW 42.52.150(4).  This section imposes more stringent limitations on gifts that can be received by officers and employees that are considered “Section 4” employees.

To determine if you are a Section 4 employee, you must ask yourself three questions:

Question 1.  Are you employed by a regulatory agency or an agency that seeks to acquire goods or services?  If yes, move on to question 2.  If no, then you would not be considered a Section 4 employee.

Question 2.  Does your agency regulate or contract with the person giving the gift?  If yes, move on to question 3.  If no, then you would not be considered a Section 4 employee in that instance.

Question 3.  Did you participate in the regulatory or contractual matters with that person?  If yes, then you are considered a Section 4 employee and would fall under the more stringent rules regarding gifts found in RCW 42.52.150(4).  If no, then you would not be considered a Section 4 employee.

Some agencies have designated their entire workforce as Section 4, so check with your agency.  You may also be a Section 4 employee in one instance and not in another.  When in doubt, you should consult with your supervisor or contact the Ethics Board for advice.



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The Executive Ethics Board enforces the Ethics In Public Service Act, RCW 42.52. The Board has jurisdiction over statewide elected officials and state employees in the executive branch; including boards and commissions and institutions of higher education.

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