New York City police officers risk being docked pay if they don’t comply with an order to either get a coronarivus vaccine or subject themselves to weekly testing for the virus, according to a new directive from the department.
The order, a copy of which was obtained by Newsday, was issued late Wednesday and tells all of the nearly 35,000 officers that, beginning Sept. 13, they must show up for work with proof of at least one shot or that they had been tested within the preceding seven days.
Officers who get a PCR test within the preceding seven days but are still awaiting the results are required to report for duty, the directive stated.
Those officers who fail to comply with the directive "will not be permitted to work and will be ineligible to receive pay for each day of noncompliance," the directive warned.
Another financial hit comes with the fact that cops will have to be tested on their own time and not work time and thus not be compensated, the directive noted.
An NYPD spokesman declined to comment further about the directive. With only some 48% of the force vaccinated, the new NYPD police policy is aimed as a carrot-and-stick approach to drive cops to more compliance with the overall city policy of getting municipal workers vaccinated.
"It is designed to make it inconvenient [not to comply]," said one senior NYPD official who didn’t want to be identified.
But the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York -- the union representing thousands of police officers -- said the NYPD directive that cops be tested on their own time contradicted previous discussions with the city which would have allowed for officers to go through testing on city time.
"In the PBAs view, any testing mandated by the Department must be conducted on job time and at the city’s expense, and any test received outside of the [officer’s] regular working hours should be subject to overtime compensation," PBA president Pat Lynch said in a letter released Thursday to union members. The NYPD directive stated that only polymerase chain reaction [PCR] diagnostic tests would be acceptable.
To protect its position, the PBA said it is planning to file an improper practice petition or grievance with the Board of Collective Bargaining, the city agency which essentially determines issues of unfair municipal labor practices and matters which can be arbitrated.
In the interim, the PBA is calling on its members to "comply now, grieve later," referring to the practice of filing unfair labor practice complaints, a union spokesman said.
It was unclear Thursday if the four days left before the directive took effect was enough time for cops to get vaccinated or tested without risking the financial penalties, multiple sources said. It also remained to be seen how precinct staffing levels might be impacted if cops stay in non-compliance.