Washington – Proclamation 21-14 On-Site Construction Contractor Requirements

There are several different federal, state and local orders, proclamations and regulations being issued regarding Employer’s requirements related to mandatory vaccinations. This has caused a great deal of confusion as to what requirements apply, and what exceptions are available. Please beware that these requirements are changing on a regular basis. This Q&A addresses Governor Inslee’s most recent proclamation related to mandatory vaccinations.

On August 9, 2021, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 21-14, which was later amended with 2114.1 (titled: “COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement”). This Proclamation relates to mandatory COVID vaccinations for Workers at State Agencies, Educational settings, and Health Care settings.

Q: What is Proclamation 21-14?

A: Covered Workers under this Proclamation must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, to work at State agencies, in Educational settings, and in Health Care settings. There are certain exemptions (disability and/or religious) that may apply as described below.

Q: What is a Worker under Proclamation 21-14?

A: “Workers” include employees, on-site contractors, and on-site volunteers.

Q: What is included in an on-site contractor?

A: Contractors of a covered entity (i.e., State agencies, Educational settings, Health Care settings) are largely included. There is no limitation for small employers (i.e., less than 100 employees). The 100-employee test is part of the OSHA standard. It does not apply to Proclamation 21-14. The list of covered entities includes:

State Agencies: Workers that work at the State’s executive cabinet agencies.

[NOTE: On September 27, 2021, Inslee extended this coverage (under Proclamation 14-21.1) to include contracts with the Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Insurance Commissioner, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. On-site contractors for these agencies must by fully vaccinated by November 30, 2021.]

Educational settings: Workers that work at all public and private universities, colleges, community colleges; all public and private school districts, including charter and private schools; and all early learning and childcare programs serving groups of children from multiple households.

Health Care settings: Workers that work at a health care setting is defined as any public or private setting that is primarily used for in-person health care services.

Q: What is not included as an on-site contractor?

A: Contractors of a covered entity are not included in the following circumstances:

Delivery: Workers who are present at a site for only a short period of time and have a fleeting presence with others are excluded from this Proclamation. Examples include construction supply pick-up/drop-off, refuse pickup, and other delivery and shipping services.

Educational settings: a contractor is exempt from this Proclamation when the work being performed is in an area where the contractors are separated from students and other people receiving services. This area must be separate and controlled by the Contractor to be outside of the Proclamation. A floor-to-ceiling physical barrier that is not breached or traversed will suffice. Onsite contractors that cannot be separated by a physical barrier are covered by this Proclamation.

Health Care settings: Workers performing work on the outside of a healthcare setting, including exterior maintenance, and work constructing a new healthcare setting not yet put into active use, provided it is cordoned off from the other areas of the health care setting that is in active use.

Q: Are quasi-governmental agencies covered under Proclamation 21-14, such as Sound Transit?

A: Sound Transit is not covered under Proclamation 21-14. The State agencies that are included within Proclamation 21-14 are: (i) every agency listed at: https://www.governor.wa.gov/of...; (ii) every agency listed at: https://www.governor.wa.gov/of...; and, (iii) every agency under the authority of a board, council or commission listed at:


Q: If I am covered contractor, what is the requirement?

A: Covered Workers for covered on-site contractors will need to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021. Disability and religious exemptions are described below. Employers will need to verify vaccination status of all covered Workers.

Q: What proof is required for full vaccination?

A: The Proclamation permits a state agency to delegate compliance to a contractor. Employers must obtain from the Covered Workers poof of full vaccination against COVID-19 by providing one of the following:

(i) CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or photo of the card;

(ii) Documentation of vaccination from a health care provider or electronic health record;

(iii) State immunization information system record; or,

(iv) For an individual that was vaccinated outside of the United States, a reasonable equivalent of any of the above.

Q: Do I need to pay for the employee to be vaccinated?

A: There is no requirement in Proclamation 21-14 that would require Employers to pay for the vaccination.

Q: Can a Worker be exempt from Proclamation 21-14 for disability or religious reasons?

A: Yes.

Q: What is required for an employee to request a disability accommodation?

A: Generally, it requires a note from an appropriate health care professional outlining the medical basis for the accommodation.

Q: What is required for an employee to request a religious accommodation?

A: An employee must have a sincerely held religious belief to seek an accommodation under the law. Employers should be careful to question the validity of the belief once it has been asserted. The EEOC has provided guidance on religious accommodations, stating: “the definition of religion is broad and protects beliefs, practices, and observances with which the employer may be unfamiliar. Therefore, the employer should ordinarily assume that an employee’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. However, if an employee requests a religious accommodation, and an employer is aware of facts that provide an objective basis for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular belief, practice, or observance, the employer would be justified in requesting additional supporting information.” EEOC Guidance, Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination, Dated January 15, 2021.

Q: What if the Employer knows that the employee is not honestly seeking a religious accommodation?

A: When an Employer knows that an employee seeks an accommodation based on false, misleading, or dishonest grounds or information, the Employer should deny the request. It is important that the Employer’s knowledge is based upon objective fact, not opinion or subjective belief.

Q: Do I need to bargain over this issue with the Union, even though it is a federal requirement?

A: Probably. It will though depend in part on your collective bargaining agreement.

Keep in mind these regulations are subject to constant change.

For additional information concerning this topic or any other labor and employment issue, please contact any of our attorneys directly at (206) 447-0182 or info@davisgrimmpayne.com.

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