Los Angeles County will provide employees up to five days of paid time off to “recover” from COVID-19 vaccination.
County Public Works employees were previously granted paid time off if they contracted COVID-19. The county will no longer offer paid time off for contracting COVID-19, though employees will continue eligibility for paid time off for COVID-19 testing, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and recovering from a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Dec. 31 internal email obtained by Timcast.
“Employees are permitted to take reasonable paid time off to test for COVID-19,” reads the email. “Employees may test no more than once a week if exposed to COVID-19 in or outside the workplace or are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of if they telework or report to the office.”
“Employees are permitted to take reasonable paid time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster.”
Employees who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 are eligible for five workdays off to “recover from side effects” within seven days after receiving their vaccine or booster.
No medical certification is required for absences following the first three days after an employee’s vaccination. Absences following the fourth to fifth day of an employee’s vaccination must be certified. Supervisors are responsible for monitoring employee’s paid time off.
“When the vaccine mandate happened, it left my family and I fearful that I could potentially lose my job,” said one Los Angeles County Public Works employee who spoke to Timcast on the condition of anonymity. “After rigorous research into the little information that was available about the vaccine at the time, I came to the conclusion I was not going to take it due to religious beliefs as well as general fear of potential side effects.”
The employee continued:
After going back and forth with HR, my exemption was approved under the condition that I tested for COVID weekly, which I thought was discriminatory as we were learning and seeing that those who were vaccinated could still get and spread the virus. However, those who were vaccinated were not subject to testing.
“We were given paid time off if we contracted COVID, regardless of our vaccine status, in an attempt to minimize transmission and maintain the safety of others,” they continued. “We were also given paid time off to get the vaccine as well as time to recover from the vaccine. This year, however, they’ve taken away our COVID leave and have only left in place paid time off to either get tested, get the vaccine, or recover from the vaccine.”
How is it okay for me to get COVID — something outside of my control — and be forced to show up to work in order to not use my personal time, and potentially spread the virus to all my coworkers and supervisors? Yet, if I suffer a side effect from the vaccine that only affects me personally, the county will pay for me to recover.
“It begs the question: how dire are these side effects from the vaccine that my employer will allow me to take up to 5 days off to recover from the vaccine, as opposed to contracting the virus itself?”