State Watch

Nearly 1,900 Washington state employees quit, fired over vaccine mandate

Nearly 1,900 Washington state employees have either quit their jobs or been fired for failing to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) coronavirus vaccine mandate. 

In a statement, the state’s Office of Financial Management said that over 63,000 employees are in compliance with the mandate as of Tuesday afternoon, which is 92 percent of employees.

Of this, 89.4 percent of employees have verified that they are vaccinated, and 3 percent have an accommodation.

A separate 3 percent of employees, 1,887, have left their jobs or were terminated as part of the mandate.

The remaining 4.6 percent of employees are either in the process of being vaccinated, pending retirement or are pending an accommodation or separation.

“The high number of state employees who have gotten vaccinated is good news. Good for the workers, their colleagues and the people they serve,” Inslee’s press secretary, Mike Faulk, told The Hill in a statement.

“While we are sorry to see that 3 percent go and we wish them well, we are pleased that it is not higher. Some have the option to return if they are fully vaccinated within the next month. Washington State government is a great place to work and these positions will be filled,” Faulk said.

Inslee ordered most state employees and health care workers in August to be vaccinated by Oct. 18, unless they have a medical or religious reason. Those who did not have a valid exemption would face “nondisciplinary dismissal.”

The mandate was stricter than what other governors enacted, as there is no option in Washington state for employees to be tested weekly in lieu of getting vaccinated.

Earlier this month, the state’s Department of Licensing, Department of Labor & Industries and Department of Corrections all reported sending out separation notices to employees who had not yet verified that they were vaccinated.

–Updated at 12:15 p.m.

Tags COVID-19 Jay Inslee resignations Vaccine hesitancy vaccine mandates Washington state

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