By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police officers who are not in compliance with the city’s workforce vaccine mandate will begin facing consequences on May 31, an arbitration panel ruled on Tuesday. It was the third and final decision made by the panel.

The arbitration panel, based on data from April 13, discovered that 97% of Philadelphia police officers are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19, have received at least a first shot, or requested an exemption to be approved based on a medical or religious reason. The panel said of the remaining officers, almost all of them have medical or religious exemptions being reviewed.

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As of April 13, the panel said only a “handful of active-duty officers remain out of compliance.”

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“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines remain the best way to protect Philadelphians and save lives in the ongoing struggle to fight this pandemic,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “As I have said before, as public servants, we bear a responsibility to mitigate the harm that would result from inadvertent transmission of COVID-19 to our colleagues and the public and to set an example for other organizations and companies. Our police officers are on the front lines– sworn to protect and serve our residents with honor and I want to thank them for their steadfast service in the face of adversity. I also want to thank the arbitration panel for coming to a fair and reasonable resolution for everyone.”

Tuesday’s decision addresses the consequences for the non-compliant police officers. The consequences include:

  • Covered employees who don’t provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID vaccine or have an exemption request submitted by May 31 will be placed on unvaccinated leave starting on June 6
  • Employees who are on a leave of absence on May 31 must comply with the mandate before they return to work
  • Workers who are not fully vaccinated by May 31 will be required to double-mask or wear an N95 mask or equivalent and submit to routine COVID testing
  • Those who receive a first dose by May 31 will have to complete their vaccination within 14 days of the schedule prescribed when they got the first shot
  • An employee whose exemption request is denied will have 10 calendar days to appeal; if an appeal is denied, the employee will have 14 days to receive a first dose of a COVID vaccine and then complete the process or they’ll be deemed out of compliance
  • Employees will be placed on unvaccinated leave for a maximum of 30 calendar days and will have to use accumulated paid vacation, holiday and compensatory  time or be unpaid if they don’t have paid leave available
  • Workers on unvaccinated leave who do not get vaccinated or submit an approved exemption request by the end of their leave “may be separated from employment”
  • Any employee who becomes separated from employment will be entitled to reinstatement one year after the date of their separation, assuming they become vaccinated and meet the qualifications of the position
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Any employees who are granted a medical or religious exemption will be subjected to routine testing and be required to follow additional safety protocols.