Kansas City will give paid leave to vaccinated employees who test positive for COVID

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The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved an ordinance allowing paid leave for a positive COVID-19 test for vaccinated city employees.

It allows 80 hours of paid leave to employees who have been fully vaccinated or those who have been granted an accommodation and must isolate because they’ve tested positive and cannot work virtually.

The leave can be applied retroactively back to May 14, 2021 and will be available until the end of the year.

“We wish to encourage city employees to get vaccinated,” Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, District 4 at-large, said. “It’s not just important for the health of themselves and their families but it’s important for the health of this city.”

Councilman Brandon Ellington, District 3, criticized the measure, saying he was concerned it could create a “caste system for people that are marginalized by culture, not necessarily law.”

He said the ordinance would penalize unvaccinated employees, saying it discriminates against and stigmatizes those who are not vaccinated. Ellington and Councilwoman Heather Hall, District 1, voted against it.

Next week, the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee will take up a resolution implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for city employees.

Since June, Kansas City, through internal policy, has required employees to be vaccinated or undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing. That policy encourages employees to get vaccinated, but anyone who does not provide proof of that vaccination must be tested every 30 days.

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