Unvaccinated federal workers won’t be fired during holiday season despite missing deadline

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Washington – Most Federal Activists who failed to meet the November 22 deadline Getting vaccinated against the coronavirus will not risk being suspended or losing his job until next year, the Biden administration said in enforcement guidance on Monday.

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Instead, managers will continue “through this holiday season with strong education and counseling efforts as a first step in an enforcement process,” according to the guidance.

Ninety-nine percent of federal employees received at least one dose of the vaccine by the deadline, the Administration announced last week, The rest have either not followed the President’s order or asked for exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

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American Federation of Government Employees, which was asked the administration Complimented the enforcement timeline for federal contractors to reconcile the mandate with the January 4 vaccination deadline.

Everett Kelly, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said, “The administration is doing the right thing by listening to federal employees, taking their concerns seriously, and giving those who have not yet been vaccinated this holiday season with peace of mind.” has done.” AFL-CIO, said in a statement,

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Kelly encouraged all union members to get vaccinated “as soon as possible.”

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Kelly was responding to guidance issued Monday from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management.

Those offices stressed that the November 22 deadline was “not an endpoint or a cliff.”

“Consulting will certainly be the first step,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. “That’s been our approach for a long time.”

While some agencies may need to expedite enforcement if there are workplace safety issues or performance problems, agencies were encouraged not to take action beyond education, counseling, or letters of reprimand until January.

The next step after the letter is suspension for a period of 14 days or less.

Unvaccinated workers who are not exempt may eventually be fired.

Vaccination rates in federal agencies range from 86.1% at the Department of Agriculture to 97.8% at the International Development Agency.

Biden announced mandates for federal employees in September as part of his administration’s strategy to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and boost vaccination rates nationwide.

Biden also ordered private employers with 100 or more workers to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated by January 4 or face weekly COVID testing.

A federal appeals court blocked the vaccine requirement for private employers after suing businesses as well as leadership in several conservative states. The matter is likely to go to the US Supreme Court.

How well are government agencies complying with vaccine mandates for federal employees?

Maureen Gropp has covered Washington for nearly three decades and is now the White House correspondent for USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @mgroppe.

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