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28 Apr

April 2021 Washington HR Legal Updates

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Governor Updates Proclamation 20-46 Employer Responsibilities

Update Applicable to:
All employers operating within Washington State.

What happened?
Effective April 23, 2021, amendments will go into effect changing some of the responsibilities of employers concerning Proclamation 20-46, which provided additional protections for high-risk workers during the pandemic.

What are the details?
Three primary changes will take effect at the end of this week – two of which provide looser rules for employers to follow, and another that adds additional administrative obligations for employers.

  • Employers will be permitted to require medical verification from any employee who is availing themselves of the protection of this proclamation, to determine if the employee is high-risk and if the employee can return to the workplace with additional accommodations in place. Employers should follow the same interactive process required by state and federal disability laws.
  • Employers may terminate employer-provided health coverage so long as they provide at least 14 days advanced written notice and the employee whose coverage is terminated is not eligible for coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a collective bargaining agreement, or other condition-specific to the employment relationship. However, employer-provided health coverage must remain effective through the end of the calendar month of the month in which the 14-day notice lapses.
  • Employers are required to provide at least 14 days advanced written notice explaining any accommodation changes.

An article providing information on the original requirements created by Proclamation 20-46 can be found here

Proclamation 20-46 itself can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers with high-risk employees can update their workplace policies to reflect the new rules regarding the proclamation.