There has been much speculation regarding President Biden’s vaccine mandate in the few months since it was announced. Still, now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued rules regarding the rollout, as detailed in a recent NPR article.
First, the deadline for employee vaccination is here. All companies with more than 100 employees must either be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Tuesday, January 4, 2022, or be tested weekly by their employer.
Second, employees must receive paid time off for their vaccination and provide sick leave for any vaccination side effects. However, employers do not have to provide paid leave for weekly testing or even the weekly testing itself to workers who decide not to get vaccinated, likely designed to motivate employees towards vaccination.
Additionally, all unvaccinated employees will be required to wear masks at work.
Federal and Healthcare Workers have No Exception
The testing option does not apply to healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid, who all must be vaccinated by the January 4 deadline, whether or not they are clinical healthcare workers or not.
And all federal employees and government contractors must be vaccinated with no test-out option. The deadline for federal employees is November 22, while contractors have until the January 4 deadline.
The President’s administration has stated so far, the vaccination mandate rollout has found success in organizations such as Houston Methodist Hospital System and Tyson Foods, which have reported a vaccination rate of more than 96 percent. However, it is anticipated that Republican states may have their state Attorney Generals sue regarding a possible governmental overreach. Potential challenges from companies with more than 100 employees are expected in the next few days as well.
These potential challenges may stop some states and employers from implementing the rule as it is challenged. However, other employers may move forward with regulations of their own for the time being. Read more: https://www.npr.org/2021/11/04/1048939858/osha-biden-vaccine-mandate-employers-100-workers