Spoiler Alert… It’s Complicated!
The federal vaccine mandate has been met with many roadblocks which put employers in a major dilemma on how to proceed. Here is what we know at this time (12/1/2021):
In early October, President Biden issued a vaccine mandate which required all federal workers and businesses who have federal contracts to be vaccinated or face stiff penalties. Monday, November 29, 2021 the White House announced that it would delay mandate penalties for non-compliance for federal workers until 2022.
An additional part of President Biden’s initial mandate was that private sector businesses with 100 or more employees would be required to have their workforce vaccinated. This piece of the mandate was delayed until OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) regulations were established. The ETS regulations for the private sector were released on November 5th and were to go into effect immediately. Shortly after the ETS regulations were published, several states and businesses sued to declare that the rule was unconstitutional and beyond OSHA‘s statutory authority. As a result of court rulings, OSHA did halt its implementation of these new regulations. At this writing, these regulations are still on hold.
Below is a summary of the ETS regulations as released on November 5th for employers with 100+ employees; note that the headcount for the 100 thresholds must include part-time and seasonal workers.
- Create a Written Policy on Vaccines for OSHA Review: The two choices in this policy per the ETS is to require all employees to be vaccinated or do not require vaccines but require weekly negative test results and mask wearing (while at the workplace) for those who choose not to be vaccinated.
- Obtain Acceptable Proof of Vaccination Status from Each Employee: These records are to be maintained and open for OSHA review.
- Provide Up to Four Hours Paid Time Off to Workers to Get Vaccinated & to Allow for Paid Leave to Recover from Any Side Effects Following Each Primary Vaccination Dose: Employers may not require employees to use personal time or sick leave to get vaccinated.
These court hold-ups have put employers in a precarious situation on so many levels. In conversations with our U.S. Chamber of Commerce representatives, they are encouraging employers to move ahead with minimum ETS requirements, to prevent employers scrambling at last minute should the courts rule in favor of OSHA’s ETS regulations. They are expecting the initial ETS deadlines to be extended if courts rule in favor of the regulations in their current form.
The NACC is resolute is supporting our businesses through this complex process. If your business meets the thresholds for the federal vaccine mandate, PLEASE COMPLETE A VERY BREIF SURVEY at THIS LINK in order for our Chamber to best support you.
As always, please reach out if you have questions or concerns about this or other policies impacting your business.
Resources for More Detailed Information:
- For the U.S. Department of Labor FAQ: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets2/faqs
- For the Federal Register of OSHA Regulations: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/05/2021-23643/covid-19-vaccination-and-testing-emergency-temporary-standard
- For more information on the White House announcement that it would delay mandate penalties for non-compliance for federal workers until 2022: https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2021/11/biden-administration-delays-vaccine-mandate-penalties-until-2022/187128/
- For more information on the halt to the OSHA ETS regulations on private sector employers with 100+ employees: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/osha-suspends-emergency-temporary-standard-covid-19-vaccinations-and-testing
Reba Morgan Osborne
Director of Government Affairs
Rosborne@naperville.net | (630) 544-3387