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Unvaccinated LA City Workers May Soon Be Docked $130 A Week In Pay To Cover Costs Of COVID-19 Tests

City Hall against a blue sky from the perspective of someone looking up.
Los Angeles City Hall.
(Ethan Ward
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Thousands of unvaccinated L.A. city workers may have until December to get the mandated shots. But it’ll cost them.

Under a plan that will go before the city council next week, unvaccinated city employees will have $65 deducted from their paycheck twice a week to cover the cost of testing for the virus on their own time. That amounts to $130 per week, or $260 per pay period.

Employees have until the end of the day on Oct. 20 to apply for a medical or religious exemption, but they may have to pay for the testing until their exemption is approved.

The city has been meeting with labor unions for weeks, but the resolution says they’ve reached a stalemate on the consequences of failing to comply with the mandate.

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If the plan is approved, city employees who don’t show proof that they are vaccinated by Dec. 18 will face “immediate corrective action.”

The city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate was passed in August. It took effect today, Oct. 19.

Seventy percent of the city’s 53,000 workers are at least partially vaccinated, up from one-halfin September.

The data was released last week by the mayor’s office and broken down by department.

In total, about 21% of city workers have declined to give vaccine information or haven’t reported their status. About 8% of city workers report not being vaccinated at all.

The LAPD has 3,700 unvaccinated employees — including cops and civilian workers — and thousands of exemptions requested. That's the most of any department, although it is also the largest one.

Six LAPD employees have filed a federal lawsuitagainst the mandate, claiming it violates their constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure without due process.

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Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.