244 LA Employees Put On Leave Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

·2 min read

LOS ANGELES, CA — About 250 full-time city employees are on unpaid leave as of Monday, two days after the coronavirus vaccine mandate took effect for Los Angeles municipal workers.

It's a tiny fraction of the municipal workforce in a city that employs more than 50,00 people.

According to figures shared by Mayor Eric Garcetti's office, 244 full-time city employees are on unpaid leave and an additional 2,508 part-time employees were either placed on unpaid leave or not scheduled for work due to a failure to meet Saturday's deadline. By Saturday, employees were required to either get vaccinated or submit a medical or religious exemption request.

That number could rise in upcoming weeks as thousands of vaccine exemption requests are processed. Department of Water and Power employees are not included in the figures released Monday, because they are working on a separate timetable for vaccination requirements.

The numbers are lower than expected. They come less than a month after the Los Angeles Unified School District let go of about 500 employees for failing to meet the district's vaccine requirement. They also follow months of lawsuits and threats of a mass exodus among the ranks of Los Angeles police and fire departments.

Last week, the union representing LAPD officers lost a round in its lawsuit alleging unfair labor negotiations related to the mandate for municipal employees — with a judge denying its members' request for a preliminary injunction against the directive.

Just over 80% of the city's employees complied with the vaccination mandate by the deadline, with another 1.33% stating that they are partially vaccinated.

A total of 2,789 exemption requests were filed as of Friday, but that figure includes many duplicates submitted by the same people and is not representative of the number of people who filed for exemptions.

Exemptions will be reviewed over the coming months.

According to the mandate, if an exemption request is denied, the employee will have five business days to file an appeal. If they do not appeal the decision, they will be issued a notice that they must submit proof of vaccination. Failure to do so would result in "corrective action."

According to figures shared by the mayor's office Monday, three-city departments have a 100% vaccination rate: the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department; the Los Angeles City Tourism Department; and the Public Accountability Department.

The lowest vaccination rates among departments include the Employee Relations Board, which the figures show has only a 37.5% vaccination rate, and the Department of Recreation and Parks, with a 63.39% vaccination rate.

By MARGARET SHUTTLEWORTH, City News Service. Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch

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