All City employees must now be vaccinated, or have requested an exemption, by February 11, 2022

PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia today announced that an interest arbitration panel has issued an Award covering employees represented by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) regarding the implementation of the City’s workforce vaccination mandate previously announced in November. After the mandate’s announcement, the matter was referred to an arbitration panel.

While the City issued a vaccination mandate for all employees—those represented by unions and those unrepresented (exempt)—it is important to understand that the City must negotiate the impact of this new requirement with its labor union partners before it officially goes into effect for employees represented by those unions.

After hearings on December 15, 2021 and January 12, 2022, the interest arbitration panel issued an Award covering Police Department employees represented by the FOP. The arbitration panel’s decision took into account the impact to public health and safety by ensuring as many police officers as possible are vaccinated against COVID-19 and that the Police Department has sufficient staff to successfully fight the gun violence epidemic. In light of these impacts along with the shared concern of protecting the citizens of Philadelphia, a majority of the Panel adopted the details of the Award as follows:

  • Employees must have received—and provide proof of—at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination(s), or have submitted an exemption request, by Friday, February 11, 2022.
  • Officers who receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Friday, February 11, 2022 will be required to complete their vaccination series according to the schedule prescribed for the vaccine they receive and will be required to double-mask or wear an appropriate N95 or equivalent as well as participate in the testing requirements until the vaccination schedule is complete. Any officer that has a request for exemption to the vaccination requirement pending on Friday, February 11 that is later denied, must begin the vaccination process by receiving a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within 14 calendar days of the denial of their exemption request or the denial of their appeal of that request under the Award.
  • Officers who fail to receive a first vaccine dose and who have not requested an exemption by Friday, February 11, 202 will be required to double-mask or wear an appropriate N95 or equivalent as well as participate in the testing requirements detailed in this Award.
  • By Friday, February 18, 2022, the City will provide the panel with an updated accounting of vaccinated and unvaccinated officers, in a manner that protects officers’ identities but will include information by unit on the duty status of unvaccinated officers—including when restricted or non duty status began for the officer—as well as the number of unvaccinated officers who are scheduled to DROP on or before June 30, 2022.
  • Following submission of this updated accounting, the arbitration panel will reconvene to determine the consequences for non-compliant officers, which will go into effect March 1, 2022.
  • In the absence of further action by the panel, any officer who has not requested an exemption or provided proof of receipt of their first vaccine dose by noon on Monday, February 28, 2022, shall be placed on unvaccinated leave (“U-Vax Leave”) beginning on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Officers placed on U-Vax leave will be required to use accumulated paid vacation, holiday or compensatory time and will be eligible for health benefits. However, if the employee does not have sufficient paid leave available, any unpaid period of U-Vax leave beyond 15 calendar days will be considered a break in service.
  • The panel will meet no later than March 21, 2022 to determine the ultimate consequences for non-compliance with the requirements of this Award, up to and including administrative separation from employment.

“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines remain the best way to protect Philadelphians and save lives in the ongoing struggle to fight this pandemic,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As public servants, we bear a responsibility to mitigate the harm that would result from inadvertent transmission of COVID-19 to our colleagues and the public and to set an example for other organizations and companies. Our police officers are on the front lines—sworn to protect and serve our residents with honor and I want to thank them for their steadfast service in the face of adversity. At the same time, we must do all we can to protect our colleagues and the public we’re sworn to serve, and the Award handed down today by the arbitration panel presents a fair and reasonable path forward for everyone.”

Officers who receive a first dose by February 11 and provide proof that they have completed their full schedule of COVID-19 vaccination by March 15, 2022, will receive a total cash bonus of $500, which will be paid by April 1, 2022. Officers who receive their first shot after February 11, but on or before February 18, and provide proof of their full vaccination status by March 22, 2022 will receive a cash bonus of $300. Officers who receive their first shot after February 18, but on or before February 28, and provide proof of their full vaccination status by March 29, 2022 will receive a cash bonus of $100. Employees who do not receive at least one vaccine dose by February 28 will not receive a bonus.

While employees may not simply opt out of vaccination, the City’s policy—and the Award handed down for employees represented by the FOP—does provide for religious or medical exemptions. Employees granted an exemption from the vaccination requirements will be required to follow additional safety protocols, including routine testing.

The full Award can be found online.