City of Seattle employees, departments feeling strain from vaccine mandate-related staffing
Seattle’s vaccine mandate has left hundreds of exempted unvaccinated city employees on leave for over two weeks, exacerbating staffing shortages in major departments and drawing criticism from impacted employees.
Mayor Jenny Durkan required all city employees working on-site to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18. While well over 90% of employees got vaccinated and continued to work normally, more than 500 others received or applied for religious or medical exemption and are on leave, hoping for accommodations to keep their jobs.
As of Monday, the departments with the most employees on leave were the Seattle Police Department with 100; Seattle City Light with 82, Seattle Public Utilities with 70, and the Seattle Fire Department with 55.