Expansive Vaccine Mandates Announced
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced sweeping new COVID mitigation efforts focused largely on vaccination mandates. The details of the mandates have yet to be hashed out by OSHA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and other federal agencies tasked with implementing the orders, but the outline of the forthcoming mandates is available on the White House website and summarized in the bullets below.
- Any employer with 100 or more employees must either ensure its workforce is fully vaccinated or require employees to test negative at least weekly. We do not yet know who will be responsible for paying for the test.
- Federal contractors must have a fully vaccinated workforce. There is no option for negative weekly test for federal contractors.
- Workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and health care setting must be fully vaccinated. Again, there is no testing option for this work setting either.
- Employers will be required to provide paid time off to employee to get vaccinated to recover from vaccinations if an employee is “under the weather” post-vaccination.
As stated above, neither OSHA nor CMS has yet to issue guidance, but the White House has indicated that the forthcoming rules will be expansive. Our firm will monitor for new guidance and release additional client alerts as guidance is released.
In the meantime, the best thing an employer can do is prepare for what is coming. The EEOC has already issued guidance—though it has yet to be updated to reflect the full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine—regarding COVID-19 vaccination issues related to equal employer and nondiscrimination laws.
If you have any questions about the new federal mandates, please contact a MacDonald Illig attorney.