Get Vaxxed or Get Tested mandate begins for more than 20,000 Pa. State workers

Pennsylvania Politics

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Get Vaxxed or Get Tested policy began on Tuesday, Sept. 7, for about a third of Pennsylvania’s workforce, it is up to the individual agencies to get it done, and yes, the boss can legally ask if you received a shot.

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“We have a script that we give to all our agencies that are involved in this initiative about how to properly ask the questions to ensure consistent procedures and staying within the guidelines of asking the vaccination question,” Reid Walsh, deputy secretary for Pa. Office of Administration, said.

The policy impacts about 23,000 workers in prisons, state hospitals, and veterans’ homes. The head of the Correctional Officers Union was not talking Tuesday, but he did when the policy was announced as he threatened a lawsuit, and called it a slap in the face.

“We’ve always felt that employees should have the choice as to whether they want to take the vaccine or not,” John Eckenrode, president of Pa. State Correctional Officers Association, said.

The governor is dangling a carrot to workers under his jurisdiction. He will give them a paid day off for rolling up their sleeves. Legislative Republicans have criticized the plan as overly generous to a workforce that is just getting back to normal.

“The governor really wants to make sure that we reward these employees and remember we’ve had 40,000 employees who have reported on-site every day since the pandemic started,” Reid said.

Every worker that has received the vaccination will get a day off. The program begins October 1 and they will have until next June to take the day with supervisor approval.

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