vaccine mandate

Mass. Vaccine Mandate Leads to Suspensions, Workers Quitting

As of last week, 362 executive branch workers were on a five- or 10-day suspension for failing to either attest that they are immunized against the virus or seek a religious or medical exemption

Hundreds of executive branch employees have been suspended or left state government work altogether nearly two weeks into enforcement of the Baker administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

As of last week, 362 executive branch workers were on a five- or 10-day suspension for failing to either attest that they are immunized against the virus or seek a religious or medical exemption, according to Gov. Charlie Baker's office.

Another 141 employees departed their jobs in response to the mandate, with 130 of those resignations voluntary, Baker's office said.

More than 5% of the roughly 42,000 active workers subject to the requirement are in a state of flux. The governor's office said 2,138 employees are still having their compliance status reviewed, awaiting a ruling on an exemption request, on an approved unpaid leave, or in the three-day waiting period to comply with the mandate after having an exemption denied.

Baker's mandate imposed an Oct. 17 deadline for executive branch state employees to submit the necessary paperwork. Those who do not comply face progressive discipline from suspensions up to termination.

The suspensions in place this week represent 0.9% of the executive branch workforce, while 0.3% of executive branch employees left their jobs after failing to comply with the mandate.

A total of 39,197 workers who either submitted a vaccine attestation, received an exemption or had their vaccine status verified remain on track for compliance as of last week, translating to 93.7% of the employee pool. Those figures are slightly lower than the 40,462 employees, or 95.2%, described as in compliance on Oct. 18. Baker's office said the original number included exemption requests, which are now counted in a separate category since many have been reviewed.

Copyright State House News Service
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