City of Philadelphia delays COVID-19 vaccine requirement deadline for employees, contractors

The mandate applies to all union-represented city employees, regardless of location of work, and seasonal city employees.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has extended the deadline for city workers and contractors to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The new deadline is now Monday, January 24.

It was originally today, Friday, January 14, but the city announced in a morning press release that it extended the deadline due to ongoing negotiations with labor unions.

The mandate, which was set in November, calls for all union-represented city employees, regardless of location of work, and seasonal city employees to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or an exemption.

Employees who have been approved for an exemption must wear two masks or an N95 and submit to regular testing.

City leaders say those 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 a person being fired.

Some may wonder if Thursday's Supreme Court ruling affects the city's vaccine mandate. Justices ruled the federal government cannot require large employers to mandate employee vaccinations. Employers, however, can still choose to require vaccines for workers.

RELATED: Here's what Supreme Court's decision on vaccine mandate means for employees and employers

"The Supreme Court decision doesn't impact that. The city can do what it's doing which is require vaccinations," Philadelphia employment attorney David Koller told Action News.

Koller says over the past year and a half his firm has received many calls from people in a variety of workplaces who don't want to get vaccinated or are looking for exemptions.

"The advice you give them is you have to find another job, you have to get exempt under one of these conditions or you have to get vaccinated," Koller said.

The city is still in negotiations with the city's police and fire unions, so this deadline could be pushed back again.

So far, according to city data nearly 81% of city employees are in compliance with the city's mandate.

According to Mayor Jim Kenney, 22,000 city employees have gotten vaccinated and at least 1,300 have an approved exemption from the vaccination mandate.
The city had already required COVID-19 vaccination for new employees, institutes of higher education and healthcare workers, and exempt and non-represented civil service employees.

The city reports 78.3 percent of Philadelphia adults are fully vaccinated.
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