|Effective Date:||Expiration Date:||Chapters:|
|Jan. 24, 2022||April 12, 2022||2 11 20|
COVID-19 vaccines, inclusive of booster shots, are the safest and most effective way in preventing residents and employees from experiencing severe illness, hospitalization, and even death from the corona virus. This is true even with the emergence and spread of the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants.
To best protect our workforce and the public, and in accordance with Mayor’s Order 2021-147, the District government requires all employees to have received a complete course of vaccination against COVID-19, and provide proof of vaccination in PeopleSoft. In addition, employees must receive any applicable booster shot against COVID-19 within six weeks of being eligible to receive such a booster and provide appropriate supporting documentation. Employees will receive a time-off award of eight hours for receiving their booster and providing documentation in PeopleSoft.
Unless granted a medical or religious accommodation in writing by the agency, District government employees may no longer test out of these vaccination requirements. Employees who have an accommodation request that is pending shall undergo weekly testing while they await a decision on their accommodation request.
Employees must fully comply with the vaccination requirements no later than February 15, 2022. After that date, employee may be notified of any non-compliance. Beginning March 15, 2022, employees who still fail to comply with this policy are subject to administrative action as outlined in the below Enforcement section.
For compliance purposes, “fully vaccinated” shall mean that an employee has completed a vaccination course (two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine) and has received all applicable booster shots against COVID-19 within six weeks of being eligible to receive each booster. If an employee has received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson, but is not yet eligible for a booster, the employee shall be considered in compliance with the policy.
The Director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources has established full COVID-19 vaccination as a physical qualification requirement for all jobs under the administrative authority of the Mayor. Accordingly, DCHR will update existing position descriptions with this new requirement.
Unless granted an accommodation for a medical or religious exemption, all current District government employees must have received an initial course of vaccination (two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). Unless medically or religiously exempted, employees must also receive any available booster within six weeks of becoming eligible to do so. To check booster eligibility, please refer to the following CDC guidance.
Full COVID-19 vaccination shall also be a requirement for all new hires appointed to new job vacancies. On or after the effective date of this issuance, all vacancy announcements and offer letters must include the following language:
Should an agency fill a position without a vacancy announcement, the candidate for employment must supply proof of vaccination, including receipt of all available booster shots, to the servicing HR representative.
Candidates and employees subject to the vaccination and booster requirement must show proof of their vaccination and booster status. Acceptable forms of proof include:
Employees subject to the vaccination and booster requirement must upload their proof of vaccination and booster (if applicable) to PeopleSoft using the “My COVID-19 Vaccination” tile at https://ess.dc.gov.
All new hires must present proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to reporting for their first day of duty unless they are exempted from the vaccination requirement (see Exemptions and Mandatory COVID-19 Testing, below). Once onboarded, new employees must also upload to PeopleSoft their proof of full vaccination using the “My COVID-19 Vaccination” tile at https://ess.dc.gov.
Employees and employment candidates may be exempted from the COVID-19 vaccination or booster requirement for medical or religious reasons. To qualify, employees must make an exemption request through their agency’s ADA Coordinator or HR Authority, respectively, and become exempt only when issued an exemption in writing. Candidates requesting these exemptions should coordinate with the servicing HR representative for written approval.
Exemption requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis consistent with appropriate procedures. Individuals who request a medical exemption must be able to explain the reason an exemption is needed and may need to provide reasonable documentary proof from the employee’s health care provider. Individuals seeking an accommodation due to sincerely held religious beliefs must make the agency aware of the need for an exemption based on a conflict between the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs and the vaccination requirement.
Every week, employees who are exempted from the vaccination requirement must show proof of an exemption and a negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken within the preceding seven days. For medical or religious exemptions, employees granted an accommodation must indicate their vaccination status in PeopleSoft as “Not Vaccinated: Medical/Religious Exemption” and provide a copy of a negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken within the preceding seven days.
Employees who are granted an exemption from receiving the booster due to a medical or religious accommodation must indicate their status appropriately in PeopleSoft.
Exempted employees can get tested at a number of locations including typically their primary care physician and for free through the District of Columbia “Test Yourself” program. Through the “Test Yourself” program, employees may visit participating locations and obtain and drop off a testing kit in one short visit. To this end, when COVID-19 testing kits are not available at an unvaccinated employee’s agency, the agency shall direct the employee to visit a nearby testing location once a week to undergo COVID-19 testing during the employee’s regular tour of duty. Supervisors should work with their employees to schedule testing times in a manner that has the least operational impact.
Agency human resources teams, ADA Coordinators, and any additional staff assigned by the agency head may have routine access to COVID-19 vaccination information stored in PeopleSoft for their agency employees. These teams must verify compliance with this issuance on a weekly basis. Beginning March 15, 2022, whenever an employee is not in compliance with this issuance, the teams must refer the matter to the appropriate investigative authority assigned by the agency, such as the employee’s immediate supervisor or an agency’s Employee or Labor Relations team.
Agencies should first determine if the employee’s lack of compliance with the policy is due to reasons outside of their control. For example, if an exempt employee has been getting tested weekly at a D.C. “Test Yourself” location, but their results have not been arriving within seven days, the employee should not be subject to discipline. Even so, employees who experience delays with receiving their test results must communicate the delay to their manager and be able to provide proof that they underwent testing that week. Even if an employee fails to communicate that they experienced a delay in receiving their test results, the employee should not immediately be subject to discipline in accordance with the policy guidelines. The manager should first meet with the employee to remind them of the importance of providing such updates moving forward. Talking to the employee before taking formal disciplinary action is critical to keep enforcement fair to the employee and keep the impact to agency operations minimal.
To the extent consistent with the procedures negotiated in any applicable labor agreement, employees who violate this policy shall be subject to discipline, as follows:
First offense – Upon the first instance of non-compliance with the policy, an employee shall be officially counseled on the requirements of the policy in accordance with Chapter 16 of the District Personnel Manual. Agencies should use the Verbal Counseling template (Attachment 2) to memorialize such counseling. If an employee does not have an exemption, the employee must receive their first vaccine dose within five days of the effective date of the verbal counseling, and both doses within 30 days. If the employee fails to become vaccinated in accordance with this schedule, agencies shall proceed to Step 2 of the disciplinary process (see below.)
Employees who have an exemption must agree in writing and, thereafter, actually provide weekly testing results in accordance with this policy. Employees who have an exemption and fail or refuse to agree in writing to provide future weekly testing in accordance with the policy or who fail to provide weekly testing results shall be progressed to the second offense step.
Second offense – If an employee fails to comply with this policy after first having been counseled on the policy (see “First offense,” above), the agency shall issue a proposed five-day suspension notice. If an employee becomes fully vaccinated before a final decision on the suspension is issued by the deciding official, the agency shall dismiss the action. If an employee has an exemption and uploads new test results before the final decision is issued, the deciding official may dismiss the suspension, considering the totality of the circumstances. If the employee fails to come into compliance after the suspension period, they shall be progressed to the third offense.
Third offense – If an employee fails to comply with this policy upon return from their suspension, the agency shall initiate the removal process by issuing a proposed removal notice. If an employee becomes fully vaccinated before a final decision on removal is issued by the deciding official, the agency shall dismiss the action. If an employee who has an exemption uploads new test results before the final decision is issued, the deciding official may dismiss the employee’s removal action, considering the totality of the circumstances.
For purposes of this section only, fully vaccinated includes any booster shots for which the employee is eligible.
This is a successor policy to the vaccination policy implemented through issuance I-2021-28, COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements, effective August 10, 2021. Corrective actions taken under the former policy carry forward and are considered a violation of this revised policy.
For example: If, while Issuance 2021-28 was in effect, an employee repeatedly failed to upload weekly testing results and, consequently, was counseled, reprimanded, or suspended for five days on their first offense, a new violation under this revised policy constitutes a second offense. Therefore, the employee will be subject to a 5-day suspension under the “second offense” articulated above, provided the penalty is appropriate after considering the factors established at DPM §1606.2.
Employees who received their booster shot and submitted proof of their booster in PeopleSoft will receive a time-off award of 8 hours, which will be credited to them in PeopleSoft.
COVID-19 vaccinations are a safe and effective measure for minimizing the threat posed by COVID-19. As such, the District government is requiring COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for all positions under the Mayor’s authority. 6-B DCMR § 2004.1 authorizes personnel authorities to establish physical and mental requirements that are necessary to perform a specific job or class of jobs.
Agencies shall maintain the confidentiality and security of employees’ medical and religious information to the extent required by applicable law.
The provisions of this issuance apply to all agencies under the administrative control of the Mayor. Independent agencies are strongly encouraged to adopt the above vaccination requirements for their respective workforces.
The requirements outlined in this publication are authorized pursuant to:
Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on Jan. 24, 2022, 3:18 p.m.