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2021 News Releases

November 4, 2021

Freddi Goldstein
Cell (973) 985-1458

District Council 37 and de Blasio administration reach agreement on vaccine mandate

Employees will have the option to take a leave of absence with health insurance.

NEW YORK—Today, District Council 37 and de Blasio Administration reached an agreement for over 55,000 City workers. District Council 37 members who have not provided proof of at least one dose of the vaccine will have the option to resign or take a leave of absence. In both cases, employees will maintain their health benefits.

District Council 37’s vaccination rate among City employees is now 92%.

“We have reached an agreement that gives our member options,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME. “Individuals can now make choices based on what is best for them and their families and know they will have health benefits available during this critical time.”

For those who have not yet gotten the vaccine, the following options are now available to them:

1) Employees can apply for a medical or religious exemption through their normal agency procedure for requesting a reasonable accommodation. If the application is denied, employees have three days to appeal the decision. Employees who submitted their initial reasonable accommodation request to their agency before Wednesday, November 3 will remain working, subject to weekly testing, while the exemption process runs its course. Employees who submit reasonable accommodation requests between November 3 and November 5 will remain on payroll subject to weekly testing through the initial decision by their agency, but may be placed on unpaid leave for the appeal process. Employees who submit reasonable accommodation requests following November 5 will be placed on leave without pay for the duration of the process. If an employee is placed on leave without pay and their reasonable accommodation request is subsequently granted, they will be eligible for retroactive pay.

2) Employees without proof of vaccination who have either not submitted an application for an exemption or who have been denied an exemption may be placed on unpaid leave beginning November 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021. Employees will remain eligible for health benefits during this time and are prohibited from engaging in gainful employment elsewhere. Employees who provide proof of vaccination during the leave time may return to their same job.

3) Any employee on leave without pay can choose to voluntarily separate from City service before November 17, 2021. Employees who choose to do so will be eligible to be reimbursed for unused sick leave on a one-for-one basis, up to 100 days. Employees who choose this option will remain eligible for health benefits through June 30, 2022. From November 17 through November 30, employees who have not chosen to separate from City service can choose to extend the period of leave without pay through June 30, 2022 and remain on health benefits during this time. At any time before July 1, 2022, employees can get vaccinated and return to work.

Any soon-to-be birth mother who starts the third trimester of pregnancy on or before October 29, 2021 (i.e. due date no later than January 29, 2022) may utilize sick leave, annual leave, and/or compensatory time prior to the child’s birth date.

District Council 37 is New York City's largest public employee union, with 150,000 members and 50,000 retirees.