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500 state workers suspended, left jobs due to vaccine order

October 29, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — More than 500 state workers have been suspended or lost their jobs as a result of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Gov. Charlie Baker’s office said Friday.

Some 360 employees are serving five- or 10-day suspensions for noncompliance and about 140 have left state government, The Boston Globe reports. Eleven of those who have left were fired.

The workers disciplined represent about 1% of the 42,000 workers subject to the mandate.

Baker announced in August that executive branch workers will have to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or seek an exemption from the state, otherwise they’d risk being fired.

More than 2,100 other workers are considered “in progress” of complying with the vaccine order, though that number also includes those awaiting a decision on an exemption request.

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Nearly 94% of the executive branch workforce is considered in compliance, The Globe reports. The administration has so far declined to provide a breakdown by agency of the compliance statistics or say how many workers have sought or been denied an exemption..

“The Administration is making every effort possible to work with the small number of employees not yet in compliance and is reviewing outstanding exemption requests on a rolling basis,” Terry MacCormack, a Baker spokesperson, told the newspaper.