As we previously blogged, President Biden announced last month that all employers with more than 100 employees will be required to mandate that their employees either get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. This order is estimated to impact roughly 80 million Americans. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was tasked with developing an emergency temporary standard that will outline how the mandate will be implemented and interpreted. The mandate will not take effect until the emergency temporary standard is released.
On October 12, OSHA sent its proposed rule to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and it is now currently under review. While this process can sometimes take months, President Biden has called for an expedited review. In the meantime, many questions remain regarding the proposed standard, as it has not yet been made public. Such questions include:
- How will the 100-employee threshold be calculated under the standard?
- Will the mandate apply to remote workers?
- What kind of COVID tests will be acceptable for those who opt out of vaccination?
- How will compliance be monitored?
- How should employers handle accommodation requests for “natural immunity”?
- Are employers obligated to terminate employees who fail to comply? Or can they opt for lesser punishments like leave without pay?
Although questions such as these remain, employers who have not already instituted vaccine mandates should take steps to prepare. This means putting your employees on notice that there will soon be a vaccine mandate, and provide them with instructions on how to request accommodations for disability or religious-based reasons.
We are closely monitoring this situation and will continue to provide updates as more information is released. If you have questions about vaccine mandates, or any other area of employment law, contact Thatcher Law Firm at 301-441-1400. www.ThatcherLaw.com. Follow us on: