What the Biden Vaccine Mandate Means for Employers
Recently, the White House directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to draft an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for private employers. Soon, employers with 100 or more employees (likely measured companywide, not by location) will need to adapt their vaccine policies and enforce one of the following:
- Require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19
- Require unvaccinated employees to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test each week
The rule will also reportedly require large employers to provide their workers with paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from any vaccination-related side effects (e.g., chills).
All aspects of this upcoming rule are subject to modification until OSHA publishes the rule. The ETS is expected to come in the weeks ahead; however, an actual release date is uncertain. Once an ETS is issued, it can only remain in effect for six months before a permanent standard must replace it.
What Employers Can Do Now
Here are some actions employers can consider to prepare for the mandate:
- Determine whether weekly negative testing will be allowed as an alternative to COVID-19 vaccination.
- Consider how to handle accommodation requests for those seeking vaccination exemptions.
- Plan out systems to adequately and confidentially track employee vaccination statuses.
- Plan for potential staffing shortages or scheduling changes to afford employees time to get vaccinated.
This list is nonexhaustive, as certain considerations will be unique to individual employers. Employers should stay tuned for specific details to be announced by OSHA shortly.
Additional articles from the November 2021 edition of the Univest Employee Benefits Newsletter:
- Complex Health Benefits Can Hinder Employee Success
- Impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on COVID-19 Vaccine Inquiries
- Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Thank you for your submission.