Changes to Washington’s Requirements Regarding Accommodation of Employees at High Risk of Contracting COVID-19

Stoel Rives - World of Employment
Contact

Stoel Rives - World of Employment

For the past year, Washington employers have been required to accommodate those employees characterized by the CDC as being at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Required accommodations can include allowing those employees to take extended leaves of absence if alternative work assignments, telework, remote work locations, or social distancing measures are not possible. See here for our previous discussion of the details of Governor Inslee’s “High-Risk Employees – Workers’ Rights” Proclamation. While the accommodation obligation continues, the Governor’s latest iteration of his Proclamation allows employers a little more flexibility.

Previously, employers could not require high-risk employees to provide medical verification of their conditions except in narrow circumstances. That is no longer the case. Employers may now require that any employee seeking a high-risk accommodation provide certification from a medical provider that he or she is at high risk from COVID-19 and that the accommodation sought is necessary. The medical provider must take into account the employee’s condition, the particular circumstances of the employee’s position and workplace, and – significantly — the employee’s COVID-19 vaccination status. Employers who have been accommodating high-risk employees for the last year may now ask them to provide verification of the need for continued accommodation, which may no longer exist for those employees who have been fully vaccinated. Employers must provide such employees with 14 days’ advance notice of any change to their accommodations.

In addition, employers were previously required to continue high-risk employees’ health insurance benefits while they were out on leave. That, too, is no longer required. Employers must provide such employees with at least 14 days’ notice of discontinuation of benefits, but then may cancel their benefits if they are not otherwise required to provide benefits continuation under the FMLA or other law.

See here for FAQs issued by the Governor’s office regarding these changes.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Stoel Rives - World of Employment | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Stoel Rives - World of Employment
Contact
more
less

Stoel Rives - World of Employment on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.