On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a number of forthcoming measures intended to increase the number of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.
Here’s what employers need to know about the “Path Out of the Pandemic” plan (CLICK HERE):
• President Biden instructed the Department of Labor to develop an emergency rule, which will require all employers with 100+ employees to ensure that employees are fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to produce a weekly negative COVID-19 test. The rule will be developed and implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and, once issued, will have immediate effect and remain in place for up to six months. The specifics of the rule, including the types of test, which will satisfy the weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated employees, remain unclear. Once implemented, however, employers will face up to a $14,000 penalty per violation of the rule. This requirement will affect over 80 million employees in the private sector.
• Additionally, employers with 100+ employees will be required to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated or recover from vaccine side effects.
• President Biden signed an Executive Order (CLICK HERE) on September 9, 2021 requiring all federal agencies to implement programs to ensure that all federal employees are vaccinated, with exceptions only as required by law. Additional guidance, including the parameters for exceptions, will be forthcoming from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) within 7 days of the Order.
• A second Executive Order (CLICK HERE) requires all federal contracts and contract-like instruments (as defined in the Order) to include a clause confirming compliance with all applicable guidance released by the Task Force. The Task Force is directed to produce such guidance for contractors by September 24, 2021, and it is expected that a vaccination mandate will be included. The clause will be required to begin appearing in contracts covered by the Order starting October 15, 2021.
• Vaccinations will also be required for employees in most health care facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.
• President Biden also called on entertainment and large-group venues to require patrons to be vaccinated or produce a negative COVID-19 test for entry, as well as on state Governors to adopt vaccination requirements for school employees.
In total, the mandates affect about 100 million individuals, or two-thirds of all US employees. We will continue to update you as additional guidance is released.
If you have any questions relating to this eAlert, please feel free to reach out to the NFC Attorney with whom you typically work or call us at 973.665.9100. We are happy to assist with this or any COVID-19 related issues.