Vaccination mandate announced for City of Boston employees
Mayor Kim Janey today announced the City of Boston’s policy regarding vaccinations for City employees. As an employer of 18,000 workers, the new policy will require employees to report their COVID-19 vaccination status or submit to weekly testing. Following conversations with City leadership and municipal unions, Mayor Janey’s vaccination verification or required testing mandate will be phased in over two months. The goal of the requirement is to protect the health, safety and economic recovery of our staff and residents served. Through this policy, the City seeks to minimize exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
“Our purpose is to protect our employees and the public, and our work is rooted in public health guidance and based on data and science,” said Mayor Janey. “I am grateful for the continued collaboration with our municipal unions to ensure the safety of our entire workforce and the residents we serve.”
The updated policy applies to all City of Boston employees, onsite contractors and volunteers who provide services onsite at City worksites, including all full-time, part-time, seasonal, emergency and probationary workers. If an employee cannot verify they are fully vaccinated, they are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days. As of August 30, 2021, employees can begin to upload their vaccination verification information into the Vaccination Verification online portal.
The requirement will take effect in phases. All employees who provide services to high priority residents (including but not limited to the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Libraries, Age Strong, Commission on Disabilities) are required to comply with this policy on or before September 20, 2021. All onsite contractors and volunteers who provide services to high priority residents at the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Libraries, Age Strong, Commission on Disabilities, and all employees who provide public-facing services to City residents (including but not limited to Public Safety, Parks, Inspectional Services Division, Registry, Parking Clerk) are required to comply with this policy on or before October 4, 2021. All other City employees, onsite contractors and volunteers are required to comply with this policy on or before October 18, 2021.
“On behalf of the educators of the Boston Teachers Union, we support these steps to protect our students and communities. We look forward to working with the district and city on the particulars of implementation in regards to accommodations and exemptions for those who need them,” said Jessica Tang, President, Boston Teachers Union. “We applaud Mayor Janey for proactively taking action to ensure the safety of students, the safety of educators and the safety of the public. This policy feels consistent with prior policies around vaccinating against other dangerous viruses and diseases. It is our belief that public health policies like this should be made with input from those impacted by the policy, and we appreciate the diligent work Mayor Janey has done with her administration to consider worker voices in this process, and to do what is best and safest for Boston as a whole.”
To help ensure access to vaccinations and testing, both will be offered free of charge at various times and locations throughout Boston, including at City Hall, for those who have not yet been vaccinated. A City Hall vaccination clinic will be available for City employees on August 31. Employees are encouraged to utilize the City of Boston testing and vaccination websites to find times and locations. Additionally, the City of Boston offers benefit eligible employees up to one hour of paid leave during a workday in order to get vaccinated and/or tested.
To help encourage vaccination rates among employees, the City will conduct a weekly lottery, the winner of which will be granted an extra one week of paid time off. All benefit eligible employees who verify their full vaccination status during the preceding week will be automatically entered into the lottery.
This updated vaccination mandate builds on the City’s previous efforts to keep our workforce and residents safe, as face coverings continue to be required in all municipal buildings.