COVID-19 UPDATE: OSHA ISSUES ETS REQUIRING EMPLOYEE VACCINATION OR WEEKLY TESTING
This morning, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandate requiring employees to either get vaccinated or to produce a weekly COVID-19 test and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination. A Fact Sheet released by the White House indicates employers must ensure all employees are fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022, after which date any employees who have not been vaccinated will be required to produce a weekly negative test and wear a mask. Employers will not be responsible for the cost of testing unless state law or union contracts require it, but will be required to provide paid leave for employees to get vaccinated and sick leave to recover from vaccination side effects. Certain requirements in the ETS are effective on December 4, 2021, such as providing paid leave to receive a vaccine and to recover from side effects. The ETS also requires certain recording keeping and reporting requirements. Notably, the ETS adds new requirements for healthcare workers, including requiring workers at health care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.
We anticipate there will be legal challenges to the ETS that may delay, or stay its enforcement. However, employers should prepare to comply by the stated deadlines. Our team of employment attorneys is currently reviewing the almost 500-page ETS and will provide a summary of its provisions. We are also available to assist employers in understanding the impact of the ETS and ensuring compliance.
The White House Fact Sheet is available here: Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Announces Details of Two Major Vaccination Policies | The White House.
The OSHA ETS, summary, FAQs and policy templates are available here: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS | Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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