Return to on-site work

Exception to October 18, 2021 deadline

Last updated October 22, 2021

On August 18, 2021, Governor Inslee issued proclamation 21-14.2, requiring all employees of Washington higher education institutions to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment unless a documented medical or religious exemption is approved.

Classified non-union staff, contract covered staff, contract covered academic personnel, and professional staff employees in regular, fixed term and temporary appointments and all student employees (student hourly employees and academic student employees) are subject to non-disciplinary separation if they do not provide verification of being fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, except under any of the circumstances listed below. Employees who are subject to non-disciplinary separation shall be eligible for state employment upon becoming fully vaccinated. The information below pertains to campus employees.

Exemption request submitted but decision pending

If an employee has initiated their medical or religious exemption request by September 24, 2021, cooperates with the process, and the exemption is still being reviewed on October 18, 2021, the employee will be unable to engage in work and will be placed on paid administrative leave until the exemption decision is provided. If an employee initiates their medical or religious exemption request after September 24, 2021, it will be reviewed as quickly as possible, but there is no guarantee of completion by October 18, 2021.

Should an employee need to be placed on administrative leave, the HR Consultant will enter Stay Home, Stay Healthy time off to account for the time.

Denial of exemption request or inability to accommodate

If an employee’s exemption request is denied or the University is unable to provide an accommodation, the employee may use a combination of vacation time off, holiday credit, personal holiday, compensatory time, discretionary leave, and unpaid time off after October 18, 2021, for up to 45 days after denial to become fully vaccinated. After denial, failure to provide proof of beginning the process of becoming fully vaccinated prior to October 18, 2021 will result in non-disciplinary separation on October 18, 2021. Failure to provide proof of full vaccination within the 45-day period will result in non-disciplinary separation.

The use of accrued time off shall be subject to the definitions and provisions of the employee’s employment program or collective bargaining agreement.

On campus, employees who have been denied an exemption should contact employeerelations@uw.edu by or before October 18, 2021 if they have begun the vaccination process. HR Consultants will reach out to the employee to validate their vaccination and then update the Workday designation indicating that a vaccination is in progress, but the employee is unable to complete the requirement by October 18.

If the employee began the vaccination process on or before October 18, beginning October 19, HR Partners and Time/Absence Initiates should enter paid/unpaid time off for up to 45 days until the employee is fully vaccinated. Time off will be applied in the following order based on available balances if the employee does not specify:

  1. Discretionary time off
  2. Personal holiday
  3. Holiday credit, Compensatory time off
  4. Vacation time off
  5. Unpaid time off

If the employee did not begin the vaccination process, the employee will be terminated October 18.

Started the vaccination process

If an employee has started the vaccination process, but fails to become fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, the employee may use unpaid time off until they become fully vaccinated. This provision is valid until November 30, 2021.  In-progress vaccination scenarios before October 18, 2021 include:

  • Starting the first dose of the Moderna vaccine after September 6
  • Starting the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine after September 13
  • Obtaining the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines after October 4

Classified employees retain the right to return to their previous position or a vacant position in the same job class at their work location provided they have become fully vaccinated prior to November 30, 2021 and their previous position has not already been filled.

If the employee began the vaccination process, beginning October 19, HR Partners should enter the “Unpaid Time Off – vaccine exception” time off until the employee is fully vaccinated.

To identify and track these employees, HR Partners can use the R0725 Vaccine Exception Audit (Hours) report to confirm that:

  • “Unpaid Time Off – Vaccine Exception” is being entered to accurately record each employee’s unpaid time off
  • The “Paid Time Offs” and “Other Unpaid Time Off” columns display “zero” for the applicable date range (i.e., starting October 18) – Employees cannot use paid time off while on Unpaid Time Off – Vaccine Exception.
Requesting to retire

If an employee is not fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021 and has officially submitted retirement paperwork through the UW Benefits Office, the employee may use a combination of vacation time off, holiday credit, personal holiday, compensatory time, discretionary leave, and unpaid time off until their retirement date. This provision expires on December 31, 2021. The use of accrued time off shall be subject to the definitions and provisions of the employee’s employment program or collective bargaining agreement.

Employees requesting to retire should have started the process with the UW Benefits Office and should inform the HR Partner of their intention to retire, as appropriate.

Time off used until the retirement date will be entered by the Time/Absence Initiate in the following order based on available balances if the employee does not specify:

  1. Discretionary time off
  2. Personal holiday
  3. Holiday credit, Compensatory time off
  4. Vacation time off
  5. Unpaid time off
Workers who have difficulty accessing vaccinations (e.g., employees in international locations)

Employees who work in remote work locations and are unable to secure a vaccine should contact their Human Resources Consultant.

Workers on a protected continuous leave of absence

Employees who are on a continuous leave of absence such as FMLA, PFML, disability leave, or military leave who did not provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination prior to October 18, 2021 must provide verification prior to returning to work, or they will be separated.