Philadelphia expands vaccine mandate to include all city employees and contractors

Philadelphia on Friday said union-represented city employees and contractors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after the new year.

The sweeping expansion to the city's existing vaccine mandate now includes all city employees and contractors. 

The mandate already included new employees, institutes of higher education, healthcare workers, and exempt and non-represented civil service employees. 

To help sway employees who may be on the fence about getting the jab, Philadelphia is offering a $300 bonus to all city employees who show proof of vaccination by Christmas. 


"Philadelphia has worked hard to turn back COVID-19, and we have had success in doing so through our shared commitment to safety protocols, including vaccinations," a city spokesperson said.

"However, that fight is not over, and the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines remain our best weapon in this ongoing struggle."

City employees with "valid exemptions" are required to submit their request by Dec. 20 for review. Employees who are granted an exemption are required to two masks or an N95 and submit to regular testing.

Officials said employees who fail to comply will be considered unable to fulfill their duties and will be placed on unpaid leave for no longer than 15 days. Continued refusal to be vaccinated could result in firing, city officials wrote.

"As public servants, we bear a responsibility to mitigate the harm that would result from inadvertent transmission of COVID-19 to our colleagues and the public and to set an example for other organizations and companies," Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in an emailed announcement of the new policy. "We owe it to our city — and to ourselves — to do all we can to keep us all safe."

A list of Philadelphia-area vaccine providers can be found on the city's website

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 issued a statement immediately pushed back against the city's new mandate. Union President John McNesby said the union is already "conferring with counsel regarding potential litigation."

"Any vaccine mandate is subject to bargaining and this is specifically covered under our recent contract," McNesby said. "The FOP is going back before the contract arbitration panel, which has jurisdiction over any mandate."

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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