The Biden administration issued new executive orders on Sept. 9 regarding the requirement of COVID-19 vaccines. The most pertinent order requires COVID-19 vaccines for federal contractors and private employers with more than 100 employees. The order addresses the many accessibility issues workers face when seeking the vaccine or testing and asks the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop new health safety standards for private employers. While the mandate doesn’t account for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, it is still expected to affect around 80 million employees in the U.S. Whether this new order directly impacts your business at the present moment, here are all the facts you should know regarding this executive mandate.
Who is affected?
The new COVID-19 vaccination requirement addresses four main groups of workers. The first is private employers with 100 or more employees. These employers must require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or mandate testing at least once a week. The second is federal employees and federal contractors. Roughly 90% of federal employees will be required to get vaccinated without the option to opt-out of vaccination by getting tested weekly. The third is teachers and staff from multiple federal education-related programs. These employees are required to receive the vaccine. The fourth, and last group, is the majority of healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement. These employees are required to get vaccinated. It’s important to know that religious and medical exemptions still apply in regard to the mandate.
How will this mandate be implemented?
Federal workers have about 75 days to receive their vaccination, while healthcare will need to begin their vaccination process by mid to late October 2021. As for the private sector employers, the Department of Labor will need to issue their final ruling first, which is expected in the coming weeks. After this is issued, employees will most likely have 50 to 90 days to comply.
OSHA is currently in the process of creating an emergency temporary standard (ETS), which are federal regulations that can take effect immediately and remain in place until a permanent rule is enacted. OSHA’s authorization to create an ETS applies when there is a threat to worker safety that poses a grave danger due to a toxic substance or new hazard—such as the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA’s ETS will require employers with 100 or more employees to either have their employees vaccinated or test unvaccinated employees at least once a week. Employees must also be given paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and to recover from any potential side effects. Failure to comply with the executive order and OSHA’s ETS could cost employers around $14,000 per violation.
This executive order comes as an effort to further combat the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are unsure of whether or not your business will be required to adhere to this new legislation, AccessPoint is here to help. Our team of human resource professionals are monitoring the details of this executive order and are staying up-to-date on all the latest requirements. For more information on how our team can help your business navigate through this new legislation and make sure your business is in compliance, contact AccessPoint today.