Mandatory Vaccination for Employees
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
What you need to know about Biden's "Path Out of the Pandemic."
By: Peter J. Lamont
On September 9, 2021 on President Biden stated, "We're going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America." As part of the President's six-part "Path Out of the Pandemic" plan, businesses with 100 employees or more will soon be required to mandate employee COVID-19 vaccinations or require employees to submit to weekly testing.
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still in the process of creating the guidelines for the mandatory vaccination requirements. According to whitehouse.gov, "OSHA is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work."
OSHA is expected to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement very soon. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees. The ETS can remain in place for six months, after which it must be replaced by a permanent OSHA standard. The formal stand will require a more involved rule-making process. See (https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan)
While employers and employees await the formal announcement of the ETS, employers should be taking steps to prepare for the inevitable rule. Just like winter, the ETS is coming, and despite personal beliefs about the vaccine, if your business employs 100 or more workers, you will have no choice but to mandate vaccinations or require weekly testing.
You should speak with your HR team and contact an employment law attorney to discuss COVID vaccination policies, administration, and tracking. These discussions should include safeguarding HIPAA-related data and Fair Labor Standards Act (1) requirements concerning paying employees for time spent undergoing testing during the workday.
(1) A common question is: If my employer requires COVID-19 testing during the workday, do I need to be paid for the time spent undergoing the testing?
Yes, under the FLSA, your employer is required to pay you for time spent waiting for and receiving medical attention at their direction or on their premises during normal working hours. Other laws may offer greater protections for workers, and employers must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
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