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Washington lawmakers to consider rehiring those fired over vaccine mandate


Washington legislators will consider a bill that would reinstate state workers fired for not getting a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, per a directive issued by Gov. Jay Inslee, because of the “unnecessary hardship” it caused employees who were fired.

H.B. 2029, pre-filed Monday, also states that “not allowing qualified, experienced employees to work in their professions does nothing to benefit the state, especially during this time of worker shortages.”

Gov. Inslee officially ended the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency on Oct. 31, thus ending the vaccine mandate for most workers, but kept the mandate for state workers — issued Aug. 5 — in effect.

Minus language to cancel that mandate, the new bill calls on legislature “to create a pathway for those employees to be reemployed in their former positions if they choose.” The bill also states that it “is also the intent of the legislature to encourage local governments and private sector employers to create pathways to reemploy employees who have lost their jobs due solely to vaccine mandates.”