As we previously blogged, President Biden recently announced that all employers with more than 100 employees will be required to implement a vaccine policy. 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. This week, OSHA revealed its highly anticipated standard. Below are the key takeaways:
- Employers must implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy that requires all employees to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. Employers may decide for themselves whether they will allow employees to instead choose to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face mask. All unvaccinated employees must begin wearing masks by December 5, 2021 and must provide a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis beginning January 4, 2022.
- Although unvaccinated employees will be required to wear masks, employers should still comply with local rules, which may require all employees to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status
- The standard does not apply to employees who work from home or work exclusively outdoors
- Employers are required to determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination, maintain records of each employee’s vaccination status, and maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
- Employers are required to providing up to four hours of paid time to receive each vaccination dose, as well as reasonable time and paid sick leave to recover from side effects experienced following each dose.
- Employers are not required to pay any costs associated with testing. However, OSHA notes that, “employer payment for testing may be required by other laws, regulations, or collective bargaining agreements or other collectively negotiated agreements.” Employers should consult with an attorney to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
- Employers are required to instruct employees to promptly provide notice of any positive test results, and they must remove any positive employees from the workplace until they are safe to return to work.
- Employers are required to give their employees notice of OSHA’s new rule, the employer’s COVID policy, and the CDC document “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines.”
- Employers must report COVID-19 fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours of learning about them.