The deadline is Wednesday for Los Angeles’ mandate that all city employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, but a proposal released Tuesday would give workers some extra time to comply.
Under the proposal submitted by the city administrative officer, pending City Council approval, workers would have until Dec. 18 to show proof of vaccination.
In the meantime, unvaccinated employees would have to submit to two COVID-19 tests per week, and $65 per test would be deducted from their paychecks. Employees would have to get tested during their free time, and testing would have to be conducted by the city or a vendor of the city’s choosing. Third-party tests would not be allowed.
According to data from the mayor’s office on Tuesday, 70.6% of city employees reported being fully vaccinated, 72.8% reported being fully or partially vaccinated, 17.9% either declined to state or did not report their status and 9.2% reported they were not vaccinated.
Under the proposal, people who seek religious or medical exemptions would also be required to take two tests per week at the employee’s own expense while the city processes the exemption request. If an exemption is approved, the employee would be reimbursed for testing costs and going forward would be required to test for COVID-19 once per week, but the city would pay for it.
If an exemption request is denied, the employee would have five business days to file an appeal. If they do not appeal the decision, they would be issued a notice that they must submit proof of vaccination. Failure to do so would result in “corrective action,” but details were not released. The proposal also states that the employee would be able to either resign or retire “all in good standing in lieu of discipline” or comply with the vaccination mandate.
The proposal was submitted to the City Council as a resolution. It was not immediately clear when the item would be on the City Council’s agenda.
Exemption requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. People can qualify for an exemption if they have a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances that prevent them from receiving the vaccine.
“How can we ask Angelenos to be vaccinated if we are not doing it ourselves? We need to set the strong example for our communities. The vaccines are available, they’re effective, and they’re keeping people out of the hospital and off ventilators,” Council President Nury Martinez said when the ordinance was approved.