What to Know
- San Jose city employee unions struck a deal for unvaccinated workers to serve unpaid suspension, test twice weekly
- City updated its vaccine mandate to offer a one-week grace period from Oct. 1 before discipline kicks in
- Those who remain unvaccinated after Dec. 31 could face termination
The San Jose Police Officers Association and other city employee unions Friday reached a deal with the city for workers who have declined to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Starting Friday, about 150 police officers who have chosen not to be vaccinated are required to submit to a COVID-19 test twice a week and at some point within the next month serve a 40-hour unpaid suspension, according to a spokesperson for the San Jose Police Officers Association.
Other unvaccinated city employees must follow the same process, the city revealed later Friday in a news release. The deadline for proof of vaccination came and went Thursday, but the city of San Jose updated its vaccine mandate policy to offer a one-week grace period before the disciplinary action is applied.
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"San Jose doesn’t want to push anyone out of their employment with the city, but we have a responsibility to continue to deliver critical city services, safely, to our residents," Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement. "We know new variants are emerging, which only furthers the need to ensure we have a vaccinated workforce. Our ability to provide essential services to our community without increased risk of interruptions from exposures depends on it."
When those employees return from suspension, they will still need to test twice weekly at their own time and expense, the city said.
Employees who had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1 or during the disciplinary process will be given reasonable time to receive their second dose and won't be disciplined unless they fail to get the second dose, the city said. Those who remain unvaccinated after Dec. 31 will be subject to further discipline, including possible termination, officials said.
Workers who have submitted requests for religious and medical exemptions are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the city said.
Thursday was the deadline for San Jose city employees to provide proof of full vaccination. The citywide vaccination rate stood at 92% as of Friday, according to city estimates, with the police department at 86% as of Sept. 24 and the fire department at 92%.