Councilmembers Riemer and Jawando to Introduce Bill Requiring all Montgomery County Government Employees to be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Employees with documented and approved medical accommodations would be exempt
ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 28, 2021 — This afternoon, lead sponsors Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Will Jawando will introduce legislation that would require the vaccination of County employees against COVID-19, while also permitting documented and approved medical accommodations.
Bill 34-21- Personnel and Human Resources – COVID-19 Vaccination Required, provides that all individuals employed by Montgomery County, regardless of their merit system status or representation by an employee organization, would be required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within seven days of notification from the county. Employees who fail to present proof of vaccination will be placed on unpaid leave and will need to provide proof that they have received at least a first dose of their vaccination within seven days and be fully vaccinated within 40 days of the date they were placed on unpaid leave.
“Vaccination mandates are routine in many settings, such as school, and they work. The FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered to hundreds of millions of Americans. The data is conclusive – they are safe and effective at limiting the transmission and deadly consequences of this disease,” said Councilmember Riemer. “Unfortunately the vaccination rate for County employees is well below the County population. Requiring vaccination for County employees will help keep our workforce, their families, and the residents they serve safer.”
“Montgomery County leads the nation in vaccination rates for large counties; however, to stay ahead of this terrible virus and prevent further spread, it is imperative that all county employees are vaccinated as well. We must ensure the health and safety of our workforce and of the residents they interact with on a daily basis,” said Councilmember Jawando.
An employee may be exempt from the vaccination requirement if they submit an application with documentation from a licensed physician and receive approval of their health-based accommodation from the director of the Montgomery County Office of Human Resources or the director’s designee. If the application is denied, the employee will have seven days to provide proof to the county that they have received at least one vaccine and 40 days after the denial of their application to show proof that they are fully vaccinated. In all instances, approved medical exemptions are accommodations; therefore, those who received an approved exemption may still be required to wear masks, get tested, social distance or follow other protocols.
The COVID-19 vaccination requirement is exempt from collective bargaining, therefore all County staff are required to comply.
An employee who fails to fulfill the vaccination requirement or secure a medical accommodation after having been placed on leave would be subject to dismissal from employment.
Over 22% of Montgomery County employees across departments have either reported being unvaccinated or have not reported their vaccination status. The departments with the highest rates of employees that reported being unvaccinated include the Department of Transportation, Department of General Services and Alcohol and Beverage Services. Daily updated data and information on the vaccination status of county employees can be found here.
The Council staff report and Bill 34-21 can be viewed here.