Covid-19 mandate went into effect on 1st November 2021 in New York City. Thousands of New York municipal workers opted for unpaid leaves instead of getting vaccinated. They include New York municipal workers, firefighters and police officers.

Vaccine Mandate into Effect

There are 378,000 public workers and some 9,000 are put on unpaid leaves by municipal authorities. These workers did not get the vaccine shot till now. The order of 20th October 2021 demanded that these workers must present proof of at least one dose of vaccination to return for work. Owing to some last-minute compliance, around 2,300 employee got the shot on the last day of deadline. New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio is confident that that there won’t be any disruptions in work due to absence of these employees. About 9 in 10 workers of the city are already vaccinated.

Efforts by City’s Officials

City officials are facing the challenge of fierce resistance among workers of some departments including police and firefighters. Alongside, there were the pending legal requirement to the vaccine mandate. The city administration tried their best to encourage workers to get a vaccination shot. There was a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to show the vaccination proof and $500 bonus was also being paid as an incentive.

Challenge for City’s Administration

In addition to those 9,000 workers, another 12,000 workers have applied for religious or medical exemptions. They will remain at job while their applications are reviewed. Around 2,300 firefighters also applied for sick leave which is higher than usual. The fire department claimed that this appeared to be a protest against the vaccine mandate. They further stated that fire department’s medical department usually examines 200 people a day. However, the number has increased to 700 people a day during last week. Most of these workers  were unvaccinated. The scenario is leading to increase in workload of remaining workers who are filling the spots of absent workers.

The outcome of this shortage of workforce will unfold in coming days. Although the city officials are claiming to be prepared for this situation. They may call the vaccinated workers to work for overtime shifts.

 

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