University of Michigan: Employees not in compliance with vaccine policy will face work suspension, termination

Nurse Kristy Smyth preps a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 31, 2020. (Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan announced this week that employees out of compliance with the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will soon face sanctions if they do not take action.

According to U-M’s vaccine policy, faculty and staff across all three U-M campuses must show proof of vaccination or receive an approved religious or medical exemption. Those who receive exemptions must undergo weekly testing.

The school will begin taking action against those who have failed to follow its accountability measures on Nov. 8 for staff and at the conclusion of the fall semester for faculty.

According to U-M, the large majority of employees who are not in compliance -- a few hundred in total -- are temporary staff.

Michigan Medicine has communicated a similar sanctions process to its employees with a Nov. 1 deadline.

According to The Record, workers are deemed out of compliance if they are:

  • Granted an exemption but not compliant with weekly testing.
  • Without verified vaccination or an approved exemption, but compliant with weekly testing.
  • Without verified vaccination or an approved exemption and not compliant with weekly testing.

If staff do not report that they have started their vaccination dose(s) or request an exemption by Nov. 8, they will be placed on unpaid leave for 30 days. If by Dec. 8 they still do not come into compliance, U-M will terminate their employment.

Additionally, staff who fail to complete weekly testing will face the same disciplinary measures.

Faculty who do not comply with U-M’s vaccine policy by the end of this semester will similarly be placed on unpaid leave for 30 days. If by the end of that period they still do not follow the policy, U-M will launch a dismissal process.

Exceptions to the measures

Those working under a collective bargaining agreement and are subsequently not subjected to U-M’s current vaccine policy will not be affected. These employees are expected to continue wearing face masks while at work and complete the ResponsiBLUE gaily screening tool.

However, anyone in the process of being hired into a position that is covered by a collective bargaining agreement after the mandate went into effect will be subject to compliance during pre-employment screening.

Fully remote employees are not required to test weekly unless they need to report on-site or meet with others for work. Remote workers are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exemption.

According to U-M, employees may undergo additional requirements as federal vaccination mandates go into effect.

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