State Employee Vaccine Requirement FAQ

State Employee Vaccine Requirement FAQ

The following is an updated FAQ related to vaccine requirements for state employees. On May 11, 2023, the governor rescinded Directive 22-13.1 ending the condition of employment related to COVID-19 vaccinations for state executive cabinet and small cabinet agencies.

Although the federal public health emergency has ended, the work continues to limit the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the risk of serious illness and death. Public health officials encourage people to stay home when sick, wear a fitted face mask if exposed to the virus, and remain up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

Is there any COVID-19 vaccination requirement for state employees?

There are no requirements for state employees, contractors or volunteers regarding COVID-19 vaccination at executive cabinet and small cabinet agency worksites.

All agencies must continue meeting requirements and following guidance for keeping workers safe from COVID-19.

Offices of separately elected officials, independent agencies, boards, councils and commissions and institutions of higher education may choose to continue additional COVID-19 related measures.

Can state employees who received COVID-19 vaccinations still qualify for incentive payments?

Yes. Eligible employees who choose to provide their employer with proof of up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination as recommended by the CDC at the point in time when proof is provided to the employer (between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023) will receive a one-time lump sum incentive payment.

Employees who are represented by a labor union should consult their applicable collective bargaining agreement for details on eligibility for the incentive payment.

When did the governor’s directive end?

The governor rescinded Directive 22-13.1 on May 11, 2023. The timing aligns with the Biden Administration’s announcement that the national COVID-19 public health emergency ended May 11, 2023, and the World Health Organization’s announcement on May 5, 2023, that ended the global health emergency for COVID-19.

Do collective bargaining agreements need to be updated?

Collective bargaining agreements have been updated to remove any provisions requiring COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.

Has Title 357 WAC, Civil Service Rules, been updated? Yes, with the rescinding of the directive. OFM filed permanent rulemaking (CR-103P) to repeal the COVID-19 vaccination requirements with the Code Revisers Office (WSR 23-17-005) on August 3, 2023, with an effective date of September 7, 2023, aligning with the expiration date of the emergency rules.

Could employees who left state employment or were previously separated due to COVID-19 vaccination requirements re-apply?

An employee who was separated from or otherwise left state employment due to COVID-19 vaccination requirements who wishes to seek reemployment in a position at an executive or small cabinet agency can re-apply and participate in the same recruitment process as anyone else seeking that position.