Philadelphia Mandates COVID Vaccine for All City Workers

DMECLegislative Updates

Philadelphia Mandates COVID Vaccine for All City Workers

Eileen K. Keefe & Sarah McKinney

Jackson Lewis P.C.

On Nov. 19, 2021, the City of Philadelphia announced all City workers must “complete a full schedule of COVID-19 vaccination(s)” by Jan. 14, 2022, or risk losing their jobs. This mandate comes following the City’s announcements requiring all Philadelphia healthcare workers, college students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated by Oct. 15, 2021 and all non-union workers to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1, 2021.

The most recent Philadelphia mandate applies to all city employees, union workers, and contractors functioning as Embedded Contractors, whether full-time, part-time, season, or temporary and regardless of location of work. Embedded Contractors are individuals who are not City employees and, “(1) fulfill a City staffing need by regularly spending more than one third of their work week providing services to the City pursuant to a City contract in such a time, manner, or place that members of the public or City employees could reasonably believe that they are City employees; or (2) utilize a City email address or wear a City uniform pursuant to a City contract.”

A fully vaccinated person is two weeks out from the second dose or the single dose of the approved options. Full-time City employees who provide proof of vaccination by Dec. 24, 2021 will receive a vaccination bonus of up to $300. However, City workers who fail to comply with the vaccine mandate will no longer be permitted to report for work and will be placed on unpaid status for up to 15 days, after which their employment will be terminated if they have not started their vaccination schedule.

Workers may request a vaccine exemption on medical or religious grounds. All requests must be submitted to the Employee Relations Unit using appropriate forms by Dec. 20, 2021. If granted, the exempt employee must wear two masks or an N95 mask and submit to regular COVID testing. Medical requests must include documentation from a licensed healthcare provider certifying the vaccine is medically contraindicated for the individual. Religious requests must include a signed certification explaining that the employee has a sincerely held religious belief preventing them from receiving the vaccination.

***This article originally appeared on the Jackson Lewis’ Disability, Leave & Health Management blog and was reposted on the DMEC website with their permission.***