On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced the implementation of a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy to combat the COVID-19 virus.
The President indicated that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) to implement this requirement. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees.
The plan also requires COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.
The President also signed orders stipulating that most federal employees and federal contractors be vaccinated against COVID-19. The President’s plan also calls on entertainment venues like sports arenas, large concert halls, and other venues where large groups of people gather to require that their patrons be vaccinated or show a negative test for entry.
The employers will also have to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from any side effects of getting vaccinated. Employers that don’t comply with the vaccine mandate or paid-time-off requirement can face fines of up to $14,000 per violation. The rule is expected to be issued in the coming weeks.