Updated at 6:33 p.m.
Two days after prevailing in state court against police and fire unions' challenge to a revised vaccine policy, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu's administration has extended the deadline for city workers to provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by about a week, a memo from the city's office of Labor Relations shows.
Last month, Wu announced the revised policy, which requires visitors to most indoor recreation venues to show proof of vaccination and eliminates a weekly testing exemption that allowed city workers to avoid receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Both components of the policy were set to take effect on Saturday. The memo states that though city employees will still be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the city will not place unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave until Monday, Jan. 24.
Employees who request a reasonable accommodation must get approved to avoid the mandate. The city has not specified what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, but has advised businesses affected by the revised policy that they must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who require them because of a medical condition, disability or other civil rights–related reason.
"In a show of good faith, the City is announcing that between January 15 and January 23, 2022, no employees will be disciplined nor placed on administrative leave and instead will be allowed an additional week to get into compliance," according the memo, signed by Office of Labor Relations Director Tammy L. Pust.
"Please be advised that on January 18, 2022, employees not yet in compliance will receive a notice indicating that if they do not get into compliance by the end of the employees' work week, they will be placed on unpaid administrative leave commencing on January 24, 2022 and a hearing will be scheduled," the memo continued. "If a hearing is established that they remain out of compliance, they will be placed on suspension status until they come into compliance and/or further disciplinary action is commenced, up to and including termination."
Mayor Wu confirmed the extension in a statement Friday night. She said "an overwhelming majority" of city employees have already met the requirement.
The city press office said that as of Friday evening, 17,425 municipal employees are in compliance with the revised policy, with 16,864 having verified their fully vaccinated status and another 561 having verified their partially vaccinated status. That figure represents an increase of more than 700 vaccinations from the last check on Monday.
"I’m grateful for the employees who have already done their part to keep themselves, all of our coworkers, and the residents of Boston safe,” Wu's statement said.
The mayor has weathered criticism for her response to the coronavirus pandemic, including having a clutch of protesters bring their objections to her Roslindale home.
She is scheduled to give a media update on the situation Saturday as the city moves ahead with proof of vaccination for entry to indoor recreation venues.
This story was updated with information from Mayor Michelle Wu's statement, which was received after publication.