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Dept. of Labor issues ETS on employer vaccinations

Federal Issues Department of Labor OSHA Covid-19

Federal Issues

On November 5, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a rule in the Federal Register requiring employers to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose between vaccination or regular testing for Covid-19 and wearing a face covering at work. The emergency temporary standard (ETS) is for “employers with 100 or more employees—firm or company-wide,” which covers two-thirds of the nation's private-sector workforce. According to OSHA’s press release, the ETS requires employers to: (i) give paid time to workers to get vaccinated; (ii) permit paid leave for employees recovering from side effects; (iii) determine the vaccination status of each employee; (iv) acquire proof of vaccination from each vaccinated employee; (v) maintain records on each employee’s vaccination status; (vi) ensure each employee who is not fully vaccinated is tested for Covid-19 at least once a week, in certain circumstance; (vii) require employees to provide prompt notice after receiving a positive Covid-19 test or diagnosis; and (viii) ensure that each employee who has not been fully vaccinated working indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person, for work purposes, wears a face covering. The ETS is effective immediately and “employers must comply with most requirements within 30 days of publication and with testing requirements within 60 days of publication.”

The same day, the Biden administration released a fact sheet clarifying the details of OSHA’s mandate. Specifically, the fact sheet noted that though the testing requirement will not take effect until January 4, 2022, employers must be in compliance with all other requirements, such as “providing paid-time for employees to get vaccinated and masking for unvaccinated workers,” by December 5.

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