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Workforce data and trends overview

The Washington state workforce data and trends overview includes all permanent and nonpermanent employees in state agencies under the jurisdiction of the governor and other executive elected officials.

It does not, however, cover employees in higher education and certain others, such as emergency firefighters, Youth Conservation Corps members and those who are paid by the state’s payroll system but are not considered state employees.

Some information focuses on the executive branch, which composes about 98.1 percent of the workforce, excluding higher education and commodities commissions. The legislative branch and judicial branch represent the remaining 1.9 percent. Staffing trends for state government including higher education and commodities commissions can be found on

The primary source of the information is the enterprise Human Resource Management System, or HRMS.

Key events affecting the workforce in fiscal year 2022

Governor’s Directives

  • Governor’s Directive 22-13 COVID-19 Vaccination Standards for State Employees: As a condition of employment, all new employees of state agencies must be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the most up-to-date vaccination, including any additional doses or boosters, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All current exempt employees must be fully vaccinated.

Governor’s Executive Orders

  • Governor’s Executive Order 22-04 Implementing the Washington State Pro-Equity Anti-Racism (PEAR) Plan & Playbook: All state agencies are charged with the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 22-04. The agency leader is responsible and accountable for achieving agency PEAR outcomes.
  • Governor’s Executive Order 22-02 Equity in State Government:  All executive and small cabinet agencies will continue to follow State Human Resources (State HR) Directives 20-02 and 20-03. The Assistant Director of State HR (or Chief Human Resources Officer) will consult with the Office of Equity to deliver a report to the Governor that reviews and evaluates each agency response to State HR Directives 20-02 and 20-03. State HR will proactively address and dismantle oppressive systems and practices in the workplace and build new, equitable systems to achieve a workforce that is representative of the diversity of Washington and practices cultural humility. State HR will deliver a strategy to accomplish these objectives by October 2022. State HR is further directed to: 1) in consultation with the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment, review and recommend any updates to EO 13-02 to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities with the State of Washington; and 2) issue a directive to require all cabinet agency employees to complete Department of Enterprise System’s DEI training. The requirements of this directive are subject to disability-related reasonable accommodations and sincerely held religious belief accommodations that are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), and any other applicable law.

Governor’s Proclamations

  •  21-08.1 Safe Workers (Amends Proclamations 20-05 and 21-08): Prohibits any employer operating within Washington State from taking any adverse employment action against a worker as a result of the worker engaging in any of the following qualifying events: 1) Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination; 2) Taking a reasonable period of time off, whether unpaid, paid, or otherwise available through the employment arrangement, (a) To receive the COVID-19 vaccination; or (b) To recover from side effects of the vaccine.  3) Taking time off, whether unpaid, paid, or otherwise available through the employment arrangement, when the worker is: (a) Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (b) Advised by a health care official or provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to or a positive diagnosis of COVID-19; (c) Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis or treatment; or 4) Wearing a face covering while engaged in work for the employer.
  • 21.14.5 Amending Proclamations 20-05 and 21-14, et seq. State of Emergency for all counties in the state of Washington in response to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. This proclamation and subsequent Governor’s proclamations issued to mitigate the pandemic in the state have had an unprecedented impact on the state’s workforce. Government agencies have mobilized to retool service delivery and maintain public health and safety.  

Legislative Impacts:

  • 2SSB 5649 Family and medical leave - Expands the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Program definition of "family leave" to include 7 days of leave following the death of the family member for whom the employee would have qualified to take medical leave for the birth of their child or would have qualified for family bonding leave. Specifies that leave taken by certain employees in the first six weeks after giving birth must be medical leave unless the employee chooses to use family leave. 
  • SHB 1732 Long-term care/delay - Premiums collected before July 1, 2023, must be refunded within 120 days of collection by the employer or ESD through the employer.  Collection of premium tax to resume July 1, 2023.
  • ESHB 1733 Long-term care/exemptions - New exemptions to be implemented are near-retirees earn partial benefits for each year they work. Certain workers who would be unlikely to qualify or use their benefits can request an exemption. These are workers who live out of state, military spouses, workers on non-immigrant visas and veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70% or more.
  • EHB 1752 Deferred Compensation/Roth - The Department of Retirement Systems must offer a Roth option as part of the Deferred Compensation Program beginning no later than December 1, 2023.
  • ESHB 1795 Nondisclosure/illegal acts - Adding sections to RCW 42.44 prohibiting an employer's nondisclosure and non-disparagement regarding illegal acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, and sexual assault.  Makes void and unenforceable provisions in agreements between an employer and employee that prohibit the disclosure of conduct that is illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, a wage and hour violation, or sexual assault, or that is against a clear mandate of public policy, occurring in the workplace. Repeals RCW 49.44.210. The amendment makes void and unenforceable provisions in agreements between an employer and employee that prohibit the disclosure of conduct that is illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, a wage and hour violation, or sexual assault, or that is against a clear mandate of public policy, occurring in the workplace. 
  • SSB 5564 Employee assistance programs - This bill makes it unlawful for an employer to obtain individually identifiable information regarding employees’ participation in EAP (Employee Assistance Program). An employee’s participation in EAP must not be a factor in a decision affecting an employee’s job security, promotional opportunities, corrective or disciplinary action, or other employment rights.
  • E2SSB 5600 Apprenticeship programs - Beginning July 1, 2023, the Apprenticeship Council is required to establish economic or industry sector-based platforms to promote collaboration within each industry, review the required classroom and on-the-job training standards for apprenticeship programs in each industry, review and recommend applications for new apprenticeship programs, and collaborate with any relevant Centers of Excellence.  The Governor must establish a committee of state agency human resources managers to undertake the development of appropriate apprenticeship programs for state agencies.
  • ESHB 1329 Public Meetings - New requirement to post public meeting recordings for six months.
  • ESSB 5761 Wage and Salary Information - An employer must disclose in each posting for a job opening the wage scale or salary range, and a general description of all the benefits and other compensation to be offered to the hired applicant. It also provides that upon request of an employee offered an internal transfer to a new position or promotion that the employer must provide hourly or salary compensation for the employee's new position. 
  • ESSB 5847 Public Employee Public Student Loan Forgiveness Information - The Advocate, with the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), must develop material designed to increase awareness of the PSLF to public service employees annually. OFM must develop a program for state agencies to certify employment for the purposes of PSLF by July 1, 2023. OFM must work with certain state agencies, nonprofits, WSAC, and local government entities to develop a plan for a statewide initiative to increase access and remove barriers to PSLF for all public service employees by December 1, 2024.


  • COVID 19 Roadmap to Recovery: The pandemic provided a unique opportunity for state government to look differently at how, where, and when we get our work done as we serve Washington.  Continually update a Roadmap to Recovery Guide to provide clarity and describe the requirements and guidance for cabinet, small cabinet agencies, and governor appointed boards and commissions as the state reopens and we strengthen our new approach to work and workplaces.

  • Statewide telework and hybrid work resources: Since 2020, we have learned a great deal about our workforce and teleworking. What was previously thought to be impossible or at least impractical is now accomplished with regularity. Teleworking in some capacity has become a normal part of how we work as a state workforce.



Last Updated: 08/02/2022
Time Period: N/A
Update Frequency: annually (end of fiscal year)

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