Employees of New York City Must Get Vaccinated Under New Order

City employees who get first dose quickly will receive $500 incentive

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all city employees. Most covered workers must show proof of their first vaccine dose by Oct. 29, or they'll be put on administrative leave.

As an incentive, employees who get their first jab between Oct. 20 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 29 will receive an extra $500 in their paycheck. The order covers police officers, firefighters and other municipal workers in the city.

"Vaccinations are critical to combating the COVID-19 pandemic," said Melanie Hartzog, New York City's deputy mayor for health and human services. "This mandate is a bold step that protects our families, friends and communities, including those that are not yet eligible for the vaccine, such as our city's youngest residents."

We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Many Workers Are Already Vaccinated

The order is expected to cover 160,500 city workers. De Blasio's office noted that 71 percent of affected workers have already received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. "There is no greater privilege than serving the people of New York City, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep yourself and your community safe," de Blasio said. 

(New York City)

Extended Deadline for Some Uniformed Corrections Officers

Civilian employees who work for the New York City Department of Correction—as well as uniformed members who are assigned to health care settings—are subject to the initial deadline. But the vaccination deadline is Dec. 1 for other uniformed corrections officers, particularly due to significant staffing shortages at the Rikers Island jail complex, according to de Blasio. 

(Reuters)

Police Union Plans to Fight Mandate

Leaders of several labor unions, including New York City's largest police officer association, said they plan to sue the city over the vaccination mandate. "From the beginning of the de Blasio administration's haphazard vaccine rollout, we have fought to make the vaccine available to every member who chooses it, while also protecting their right to make that personal medical decision in consultation with their own doctor," said Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association. "Now that the city has moved to unilaterally impose a mandate, we will proceed with legal action to protect our members' rights."

(Politico)

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Health Care Workers Already Subject to Statewide Mandate

Health care workers in New York were already required to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27. According to de Blasio's office, 95 percent of New York City Health and Hospitals workers had complied with the order as of Oct. 20.

Northwell, which is New York state's largest health care provider and employs 76,000 workers, fired about 1,400 unvaccinated employees as of Oct. 4. Northwell said in a statement that it took a "rapid, aggressive approach to move successfully toward full vaccination compliance" and that it could provide "exceptional care at all of our hospitals without interruption and enable all our facilities to remain open and fully operational" due to a 97 percent compliance rate.

(Forbes)

Some New York City Teachers Placed on Leave

Teachers and staff at New York City public schools had to be vaccinated before the start of the Oct. 4 school week. The initial deadline was set for the end of September but was delayed during a legal challenge to the mandate. A federal appeals court, however, ruled in New York City's favor.

According to United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, 97 percent of the union's members had received at least one jab by the deadline. Public school employees who did not comply were placed on leave. "Every adult in our schools is now vaccinated. That's going to be the rule going forward. That's the way to keep kids safe," de Blasio said.

(NPR) and (The Wall Street Journal)

Employers React to Workers Who Refuse Vaccination

As mandatory COVID-19 vaccines become more widespread, many employers are asking what they can do if workers refuse. Some employers are firing workers who won't take the vaccine, and others are requiring unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly testing and take other safety precautions. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has weighed in with guidance that answers some workplace vaccination questions. For example, the agency said federal anti-discrimination laws don't prohibit employers from requiring all employees who physically enter the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Employers that encourage or require vaccinations, however, must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other workplace laws, according to the EEOC. Reasonable accommodations may need to be made for workers with medical or religious objections to getting vaccinated, unless accommodating the worker would cause an undue hardship on the business.

(SHRM Online)

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