Boston suspends 812 workers over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Coronavirus

“We continue to work closely with our different workforce, and our union partners, to ensure employees have access to vaccination, testing and verification systems to comply with the mandate.”

Boston suspended 812 city employees without pay on Tuesday for failing to comply with the vaccine mandate.

This move leaves the city short about 4% of its workforce of 18,000 employees, that is until each one provides a negative COVID-19 test consequence. A city spokesperson told NBC10 Boston that the city is leading by example as Boston’s largest employer.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s office sent out notices last week to around 1,400 employees who were not compliant, the Boston Herald reported, but about 600 of them got into compliance by Tuesday. The city estimated the suspensions were most likely to be felt by schools.

“We are now implementing contingency plans for bus transportation and other school operations impacted by employee leaves of absence, due to unverified vaccination or testing,” Janey’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “We continue to work closely with our different workforce, and our union partners, to ensure employees have access to vaccination, testing and verification systems to comply with the mandate.”

Janey’s office announced the vaccine mandate in August, but it’s not all or nothing: people who don’t want the vaccine can opt for weekly COVID testing, and medical or religious exemptions were considered. It was also phased in, with the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Libraries, and some other higher-risk employees required to comply by Sept. 20, police, firefighters, and some others by Oct. 4, and the rest by Oct. 18.

A spokesperson told NBC10 the city has developed plans for no-show employees to ensure the school day goes smoothly. As of Friday, 92% of school employees were in compliance, and the city said it’s taken measures to ensure all are aware of the requirements.

Education efforts include emails, texts, and phone calls to staff, testing in bus yards and schools, and providing information at testing sites.



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