The following is a FAQ related to vaccine requirements for state employees, pursuant to Directive 22-13.1. This directive went into effect on Nov. 1, 2022.
Who does the directive apply to?
This directive applies to all executive cabinet and small cabinet agency worksites and employees.
Offices of other separately elected officials, independent agencies, boards, councils and commissions and institutions of higher education are encouraged to consider similar measures.
The directive does not apply to contractors. State agencies may negotiate a contract term that would require proof of vaccination. Before doing so, agencies should consult with their AAG.
What does the vaccination directive require?
The directive establishes a condition of employment for new employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the date they begin state employment, and continues the requirement for existing employees.
The directive includes a definition for being “fully vaccinated” as being 14 days after receiving the second dose of a two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA or World Health Organization. Employers must verify the vaccination status of employees, regardless of work setting.
Employees can still seek disability-related reasonable accommodations and sincerely held religious belief accommodations in accordance with state and federal law.
Additional information and human resource guidance is available from the Office of Financial Management.
Did the state engage with labor unions on this issue?
The directive required cabinet agencies to engage with state agency labor unions to continue the vaccination requirement for represented employees. The state reached agreement with most unions representing cabinet agency employees to continue the vaccination requirement via an interim agreement until June 30, 2023. New collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with all unions contain the vaccination requirement, and those go into effect July 1, 2023.
On what legal grounds is this imposed?
The governor has the authority as an employer to impose conditions of employment for executive cabinet and small cabinet agency employees.
Is there any avenue to opt out of the vaccination requirement?
State and federal law allows for disability-related reasonable accommodations and sincerely held religious belief accommodations. Prospective employees must either show proof of being fully vaccinated or work with their agency’s human resources office to request a reasonable accommodation for disability-related or sincerely held religious belief reasons.
How do agencies safeguard my vaccination information?
State agencies have protocols in place for safeguarding confidential information. These requirements are applied to vaccination information.
Do employees have any recourse to losing employment?
An employee separated from employment for any reason may initiate remedies available under any applicable collective bargaining agreement, civil service rules, and/or agency policy and procedure.