Los Angeles city workers who’ve refused to get vaccinated must now pay $130-a -week for COVID tests after the deadline for staff to have the shot was extended.
Under a new plan approved by LA city council on Tuesday, city workers have until December 18 to get their COVID-19 vaccine, and those who have not met the requirements by the deadline will face ‘corrective action.’ The original deadline was October 20.
They must take two COVID tests a week, at a cost of $65 per test, or $130-a-week. Tests can only be carried out by city-approved testing facilities which charge to administer them, with LA Council refusing to accept COVID results from other, third-party testing facilities, many of which offer tests for free.
It is unclear if that charge has been imposed to try and pressure workers into getting the shot to save themselves money.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who called the mandate ‘critical to protecting the health and safety of our workforce and the Angelinos we serve,’ said that any city employee who refuses to get vaccinated by the deadline should be prepared for termination.
‘Employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 18, and we are putting a rigorous testing program into place in the meantime,’ he said in a statement. ‘Let me be clear: Any employee who refuses to be vaccinated by this date should be prepared to lose their job,’
Through then unvaccinated city employees will be forced to cough up to $130 a week for COVID testing.
The mandate will require workers to submit two COVID tests a week, during their free time and at $65 per test that will be taken out of their paycheck, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Those seeking a religious exemption will be required to submit two test a week at their own expense while the city processes the request. If the exemption is accepted the employees will be reimbursed and will then be required to take one COVID test a week, but they’ll no longer have to pay for that test to be carried out.
If the exemption is denied, the employee will have five business days to file an appeal and if the employee chooses to not file an appeal, they will be required to submit proof of vaccination or face being fired.
There are currently 5,000 city employees planning on perusing medical or religious exemptions, the Times reported.
With this new mandate, LA officials are putting the pressure on unvaccinated city employees to fall in line with the majority of city employees who have already gotten the jab.
The LA Times reported that according to city data, nearly 73 percent of city employees were at least partially vaccinated while 12 percent reported they were unvaccinated and 15 percent did not disclose their vaccination status.
The vaccine mandate has faced push back from some members of the Los Angeles Police Department who filed a suit challenging a the mandate, but according LAPD chief Michel Moore, 74 percent of the police department’s workforce has received at least one shot, while 70 percent are fully vaccinated, spectrum1news.com reported.
Major cities across the U.S, including New York City are facing similar mandates that have been met with backlash.
In NYC a vaccine mandate for city workers that is set to go into effect on November 1.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the order for the mandate last week for the city’s 160,000 unvaccinated workers who must receive at least one dose by October 29 at 5pm.
City workers who do not comply with the mandate will be put on unpaid leave from November 1, and also face losing their jobs.
The news sent thousands of anti-mandate protestors bearing signs, banners and American flags marching across the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday.
As of Monday, 20,683,007 vaccines have been administered in NYC with a 64.3 per cent vaccination rate for the city’s population.
In addition, 70.9 per cent of NYC residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
In the US, more than 413 million doses have been administered with 57.4 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated.