On November 4, the White House announced that OSHA is issuing a COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that applies to employers with 100 or more employees (covered employers*). Below are answers to questions you might have about the OSHA vaccine mandate as an employer.
Please note that a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the vaccination rule. While we wait for updates on this legal challenge, we want to keep you updated with everything we know at the moment.
Who will be affected by the vaccine mandates?
- Businesses with 100 or more employees
- Healthcare providers that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement
- Nursing homes
- Federal contractors
- Executive branch federal employees
- Teachers and school employees
For more guidance on planning for a vaccine mandate, check out our blog post and webinar from earlier this year.
What is required of employers under this plan?
After January 4, 2022, covered employers will need to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week. All unvaccinated employees must be masked at all times in the workplace.
The plan also includes requiring the same group of employers to provide paid time off for employees to get and recover from the vaccine.
Do employers have to provide testing?
The ETS does not require employers to provide or pay for tests. Employers should determine whether or not they will offer testing for employees that opt out of the vaccine requirement.
When will this plan go into effect?
This goes into effect on December 5th, with the vaccine and testing requirements going into effect on January 4, 2022.
We know that several states have enacted bans on mask and vaccine mandates. At this point, the guidance is that federal mandates supersede any state or local laws or ordinances.
*If your business is covered under the ETS or any vaccination mandate, a policy needs to be in place. Nextep has sample policies that we can customize for your business. Contact your HR business partner for help!