LA to deduct test costs from paychecks of unvaccinated officers, firefighters, city employees

LA to deduct test costs from paychecks of unvaccinated officers, firefighters, city employees
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The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan on Tuesday that calls for deducting the cost of COVID-19 tests from the paychecks of police officers, firefighters and other city workers who remain unvaccinated.

The plan, which passed the council by a 13-0 vote, according to the Los Angeles Times, requires that all unvaccinated employees reimburse the city $260 per pay period to cover the four tests that are mandated for workers who have not received the shot. Each test costs $65.

The plan also says that city workers have until Dec. 18 to comply with the vaccine mandate, which is an extension from the original October deadline. On that date, all workers who have not been fully inoculated will be subject to “corrective action,” according to the plan.

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The guidelines also require that workers who were not vaccinated by Oct. 20 sign a notice instructing them to get inoculated. Refusal to sign the notice and abide by the terms “shall constitute failure to meet a condition of employment and shall result in appropriate and immediate corrective action."

Until the Dec. 18 deadline, unvaccinated workers are required to get tested twice a week. The plan says those tests must be administered by the city or its vendor to ensure results are accurate and timely, and workers must get tested on their own time.

City workers who have requested a medical or religious exemption, however, will be reimbursed for the costs of their tests if their exclusion from the mandate is ultimately accepted. They will still be subject to testing twice a week.

Almost 73 percent of city employees in Los Angeles were at least partially vaccinated, not including workers at the Department of Water and Power, according to an analysis of city data by the Times.

A little less than 12 percent of the city's workers said they have not received the shot, and an additional 15 percent have not disclosed their vaccination status, the Times reported.

The number of inoculated workers increased since last week, the Times noted, after more employees reported their vaccination status.

Close to 5,000 city employees are reportedly planning on submitting medical or religious exemptions. “Medical deferrals” are also an option in the city, according to the Times, which allows people who recently recovered from the virus to be exempt from the vaccine mandate.