A total of 812 employees were put on unpaid leave after they were determined to be non-compliant with the city’s mandate to take the COVID-19 vaccine, acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey said at a news conference Wednesday morning, reported local station WFXT. That figure would represent about 4 percent of the city’s entire workforce of about 18,000 employees.
Around 6:30 p.m. local time Wednesday, the city announced an updated figure of 637 employees who were not compliant with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. It also said that of the 812 put on unpaid leave, the employees who were later determined to have been in compliance can be paid again when they return, reported NBC10 Boston. Meanwhile, employees who are suspended can return to work by giving proof of a negative test within the past week.
The mayor’s office told local news outlets in a statement on Tuesday: “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.
“We continue to work closely with our diverse workforce, and our union partners, to ensure employees have access to vaccination, testing, and verification systems to comply with the mandate.”
Janey’s office last week had sent out notices to about 1,400 city employees informing them they were at risk of suspension after having been deemed non-compliant to the mandate, reported the Boston Herald.
The city’s vaccine mandates were announced in August. People can opt for weekly testing if they don’t want the vaccine. People were also able to apply for medical or religious exemptions by a deadline of Oct. 8.
The COVID-19 vaccine mandates were applied in phases, with deadlines of Sept. 20, Oct. 4, and Oct. 18 for different types of city employees. The earliest deadline was applied to employees at sites including the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Libraries, Age Strong, and Commission on Disabilities.
Vaccinations and testing are offered free of charge, the city previously announced. It also said eligible employees can get up to one hour of paid leave during a workday to get vaccinated or tested.
The city also said that eligible employees who get fully vaccinated are automatically entered into a lottery in the following week, and the winner gets granted an extra week of paid time off.