On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced that large employers of 100 or more must mandate that their employees show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or wear a mask and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. These mandates were not slated to go into effect until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) addressing the requirements employers must follow when implementing the vaccination and testing mandate.
On November 4, 2021, OSHA issued the highly anticipated ETS. The Lindabury team is currently wading through the 490-page ETS and will provide a more detailed analysis of the requirements in the near future. In the interim, here are only some of the ETS details employers have been anxiously waiting for:
- The ETS is effective November 5, 2021, and will be in effect for 6 months
- All unvaccinated workers must begin wearing masks by December 5, 2021
- Employers have until January 4, 2022, to verify that employees have been “fully vaccinated” or to initiate the weekly testing mandate for those who are not; booster shots are not included in the definition of “fully vaccinated”
- Remote workers do not have to undergo weekly testing, but must provide a negative COVID test within 7 days prior to returning to the workplace for any reason
- All employees (FT, PT, temporary and remote) in all locations within the US are counted to determine whether the 100-emplyee threshold is met
- Employers have 30 days to develop and distribute policies and procedures to implement the ETS; the requirements of a complaint notice are detailed in the ETS
- Employers cannot require employees to use personal or sick time to be vaccinated and must provide up to 4 hours of paid time during work hours for employees to get vaccinated
- Employers must provide reasonable paid time off – up top 2 days – to employees to recover from the effects of the vaccine but may charge that time against the employees’ accrued sick time
- Employers are not required to cover the costs associated with the testing of unvaccinated workers (but this may be required by a collective bargaining agreement or other laws)
- Employers must immediately remove any person who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, from the workplace
Be on the lookout for additional notifications from Lindabury providing additional details about the ETS requirements.