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Massachusetts Governor Orders Vaccine Mandate For 42K State Employees

(WBUR News) – About 42,000 state employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have secured a medical or religious exemption by Oct. 17, or face the risk of consequences including losing their jobs, under an executive order Gov. Charlie Baker signed Thursday.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers developing return-to-work plans for the House and Senate are also discussing vaccine mandates, with more specifics about those plans expected soon.

The order, issued a day after Baker said he was “seriously considering” some sort of vaccine mandate for workers under his purview, says that the executive department is the state’s largest employer and “can lead in promoting policies to ensure the health and safety of all Massachusetts workers and residents.”

Baker’s order applies to his office and staff, the state’s various executive offices, and “any agency, bureau, department, office, or division of the Commonwealth within or reporting to such an executive office of the commonwealth.”

It encourages independent agencies and authorities, public colleges and universities, elected officials, other constitutional offices, the Legislature and the Judiciary “to adopt policies consistent with this executive order.” Three constitutional officers — Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Auditor Suzanne Bump and Attorney General Maura Healey — have already announced vaccine policies for their workforces, as has Boston Mayor Kim Janey.

Under Baker’s order, all executive branch employees — including full-time, part-time and seasonal workers, temporary employees, and interns — will have until Oct. 17 to provide proof of their completed vaccination. In addition to the 42,000 employees, the policy will also apply to another roughly 2,000 contracted workers employed by executive departments, according to Baker’s office.

The human resources division is tasked with developing a procedure to allow limited exemptions for employees unable to receive a COVID-19 shot because of a medical condition or unwilling to receive one “due to a sincerely held religious belief.” Read Full Article

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