'Handful' of Philly cops not in compliance with city's vaccine mandate to face consequences

Officials said only a handful of officers remain out of compliance with the vaccination mandate policy.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Beginning on May 31, police officers who are not in compliance with the City of Philadelphia vaccine mandate for employees will face consequences, according to a decision announced Tuesday from an Arbitration Panel.

Based on the data provided on April 13, the Arbitration Panel found that approximately 97% of the sworn members of the police department have either been fully vaccinated, received at least a first vaccination shot, or had a request for a medical or religious exemption approved.

Of the remaining officers, nearly all have submitted medical or religious exemption requests that are still being reviewed.

Officials said only a handful of officers remain out of compliance with the vaccination mandate policy.

The decision addresses the consequences for the small number of non-compliant officers including:

- Covered employees who do not provide proof that they have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or have an exemption request to the vaccination requirements submitted by Tuesday, May 31 will be placed on Unvaccinated (U-Vax) Leave beginning Monday, June 6, 2022.

- Employees on a leave of absence on Tuesday, May 31 must comply with the mandate before being permitted to return to work.

- Employees who are not fully vaccinated by Tuesday, May 31, regardless of reason, are required to follow additional precautions, including double-masking or wearing a N95 or equivalent and submitting to routine COVID-19 testing.

- Employees who receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Tuesday, May 31, 2022, must complete their vaccination series within 14 days of the schedule prescribed for the vaccine they received.

- Any employee who has an exemption request denied, will have 10 calendar days to submit an appeal. If the appeal is denied, the employee must receive a 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 with the mandate

- Employees will be placed on U-Vax Leave for a maximum of 30 calendar days following their removal from work for failure to comply with the mandate. Employees on U-Vax Leave will be required to utilize accumulated paid vacation, holiday and compensatory time and will be unpaid if they do not have sufficient time paid leave available.

- Employees who do not come into compliance by becoming vaccinated or submitting an approved exemption request by the end of the U-Vax Leave may be separated from employment.

- Individuals separated from employment for failure to meet the vaccination requirements are entitled to reinstatement for one year following the date of their separation, subject to their meeting all qualifications of the position, including any vaccination requirement, provided that the Police Department has budgeted vacancies in the position to which they seek reinstatement.

"The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines remain the best way to protect Philadelphians and save lives in the ongoing struggle to fight this pandemic," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "As I have said before, 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. 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."

The city previously announced the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in November 2021.
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