As we previously blogged, some employers are have opted to institute mandatory vaccine policies for their employees, but now many employers won’t have a choice. On Thursday, President Biden announced that all employers with more than 100 employees are required to mandate that their employees either get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. This order is estimated to impact roughly 80 million Americans. Additionally, the order instructs these employers to offer paid time off to allow employees to get vaccinated and recover from any side-effects. Employers who don’t comply with the order face fines of up to $14,000 for each violation.
In addition, Biden’s order mandates that all federal workers and contractors get vaccinated. The option to instead undergo weekly testing will not be extended to these workers. Under the new plan, such employees and contractors will have about 75 days to become fully vaccinated. An estimated 17 million healthcare workers will also be required to get the vaccine.
Together, these mandates will cover roughly 2/3 of the American workforce – an estimated 100 million people. As always, employers are required to engage in an interactive process with any employees who object to the vaccine for religious or disability-related reasons.
While some politicians have vowed to fight these new mandates, current guidance from the EEOC and various courts across the country have upheld the legality vaccine mandates. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently developing a temporary standard directed towards private employers, which will be issued in the next few weeks.