PHILADELPHIA - On Monday, the City of Philadelphia announced the new timeline for the implementation of the workforce vaccine mandate.
According to an arbitration panel governing the mandate for employees represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, this is the final update on the matter.
On February 1, the panel issued requirements, including a mandate for officers to be vaccinated by February 18.
That mandate was delayed on February 28 and unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees were not punished or placed on leave at that time.
According to the panel, as of April 13, 97% of the Philadelphia Police Department have either been fully vaccinated, received at least a single dose or requested a medical or religious exemption.
"Only a handful of active-duty officers remain out of compliance with the City's COVID-19 vaccination mandate policy as of Wednesday, April 13," a release from the City said.
Under the new timeline, employees who do not provide proof of at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or a request for exemption by May 31 will be placed on Unvaccinated Leave beginning June 6.
Employees who are currently on leave must comply with the mandate by May 31.
Unvaccinated employees will be required to follow additional protocols including, double-masking, wearing an N95 mask or submitting to routine COVDI-19 testing.
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Employees who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by May 31 will have 14 days of the schedule prescribed for the vaccine they received.
For employees whose exemption requests were denied, 10 calendar days will be given to file for an appeal. If the appeal is denied, the arbitration panel says the employee must receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within 14 calendar days and complete their vaccination series in a "timely manner" or be considered out of compliance.
According to the panel, employees will be placed on unvaccinated leave for a maximum of 30 days if they fail to comply with the mandate.
During the mandatory leave employees will be required to use their paid vacation, holiday and compensatory time. If they have no time to accommodate the period then their time on leave will be unpaid.
Officers who do not come into compliance by the end of the 30-day leave period may no longer be employed by the department.
Following separation from employment, a former employee is entitled to reinstatement for one year after the date of their separation. They must meet all the qualifications, including any vaccination requirements in place.
Mayor Jim Kenney says the best way to beat the ongoing pandemic is by getting vaccinated.
"As I have said before, as public servants, we bear a responsibility to mitigate the harm that would result from Dina advertent transmission of COVID-19 to our colleagues and the public and to set an example for other organizations and companies. Our police officers are on the front lines-sworn to protect and serve our residents with honor and I want to thank them for their steadfast service in the face of adversity. I also want to thank the arbitration panel for coming to a fair and reasonable resolution for everyone," he said.