5 Things Employers Need To Know About OSHA’s ETS

47 Open Notebook

(JANUARY 13, 2022) UPDATE: The Supreme Court halted OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (or ETS) to enforce COVID-19 vaccination statuses for employees. While there’s a chance new OSHA guidance could emerge at some point, you can disregard the previously announced vaccination mandate deadlinesAs always, we’ll keep you in the loop if new legislation emerges. If you have any questions, reach out to your HR business partner, send us an email, or shoot us a text. We’re here to help!

On November 5, 2021, OSHA published its COVID-19 vaccination and testing ETS, and parts of the rule went into effect on January 10, 2022. 

While it initially faced some legal challenges, the ruling has passed through the Court of Appeals and it now is under review by the US Supreme Court for a final ruling. Until the Supreme Court makes its final ruling, OSHA is recommending that businesses subject to the ETS make preparations to comply. Further, OSHA has indicated that many portions of the standard went into effect on January 10 with a grace period in which federal enforcement and citations will not begin before Feb 9. Here’s the breakdown of what’s expected of qualifying employers.

All employers with 100+ total employees* must:

1. Develop and enforce a COVID-19 vaccination policy

When: By no later than January 10, 2022

Additional details: Companies can either mandate employees (who report to the workplace) to get the COVID-19 vaccination or enforce a policy that allows employees to choose between getting vaccinated or wearing a mask and providing weekly (or within seven days of returning to the workplace) COVID-19 test results.

2. Verify vaccination status of all employees

When: By no later than January 10, 2022

Additional Details: Employers must have proof of vaccination from employees as well as keep a roster and record of each employee’s vaccination status.

3. Require weekly negative test results for unvaccinated employees 

When: By no later than February 9, 2022

Additional Details: If employers don’t choose to mandate the vaccine in their workplace, they are required to have employees present a weekly (or within seven days of returning to the office, if out for a week or more) negative COVID-19 test.

4. Support employees getting vaccinations with paid time off

When: By no later than January 10, 2022

Additional Details: Employers must accommodate a reasonable amount of time (up to four hours of paid time) for employees to get vaccinated. They must also offer paid sick leave for employees to recover from any side effects. 

5. Comply with reporting and record-keeping requirements 

When: By no later than January 10, 2022

Additional Details: This includes maintaining copies of employee vaccine records and tests.

For more information, check out the OSHA ETS Fact Sheet or the OSHA ETS Frequently Asked Questions, or reach out to your HR business partner! As always, we’re here to help, rain or shine – send us an email, shoot us a text, or give us a call. 

* The ETS affects companies with 100 or more employees total – this number includes part-time workers and those who work from home and excludes contract workers and businesses that work exclusively outdoors. The ETS only applies to employees within those companies who physically report to the workplace where more than one person is present. 

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