Is your business at risk of major penalties from the Biden administration's new COVID-19 mandates? As of September 9th, if you’re the owner of a business with over 100 employees, you’re left with two options: either require your employees to be fully vaccinated or set up regular COVID-19 testing for those unvaccinated.
The president has commissioned OSHA – the Department of Labor’s Occupational and Health Administration – to draft and enforce temporary measures. Biden insists this is in pursuance to greatly slow the spread of the virus, but what does it mean for your company?
If the size of your business is less than one hundred employees, the mandate doesn’t apply to you, but routine COVID testing is still a good measure for safety. However, if your company is over that 100 mark, keep reading.
The vaccination and testing mandates are going to affect over 80 million Americans, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the entire U.S. workforce.
In addition to testing requirements for the private sector, federal workers – who span across the country in over 50,000 locations – are required to be fully vaccinated by November 22nd.
The exact deadline for your business to enforce these mandates has not been announced yet. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is currently determining a final publication date for the mandate for sometime in mid-October. You can expect for a final deadline to fall between 60-90 days after this publication date – likely to be in early 2022.
What happens if your employees are found to be either untested or unvaccinated? Get ready to pay up, as your business can face hefty OSHA fines up to $14,000 per violation.
Giant public companies like Disney and Fox News are already adopting this for employees, but others are exploring different approaches.
Employees of larger businesses (100 employees or more) will be either required to prove vaccination status or undergo regular COVID-19 testing – unless their employer decides to implement other policies.
Delta Airlines Inc., for instance, is imposing a $200 healthcare surcharge for unvaccinated employees. Approximately 20% of Delta employees received a full vaccination following the measure so far. Other companies like United Airlines left no option and require vaccines for all employees by next Monday (September 27th), otherwise to be fired.
Of course, you don’t have to adopt the same degree of provisions for your business, but are still held liable under these OSHA-enforced federal mandates.
If you have employees who get vaccinated following the mandate, you as an employer are required to provide paid time off for any side-effects following receiving a jab and are subject to the aforementioned fines if violated.
There are limited exemptions to the mandate for unvaccinated employees with disabilities or religious reasons. To receive exemptions for religious reasons, your employee must be able to demonstrate that they sincerely hold a religious belief and that it won’t impose any undue hardships on you or the business. Similarly with medical exemptions, employees must prove that their condition is protected under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990.
Federal workers/employees are required to be fully vaccinated by November 22. Given a two-week period is a prerequisite for “fully-vaccinated” status, a second dose (or single-dose J&J vaccination) must be administered no later than November 8th.
OSHA jurisdiction only presides over 29 states currently, which is where the mandates will directly be imposed. Even if your business’ state doesn’t fall under direct OSH jurisdiction, your state’s federally-approved safety agency has 30 days to draft and adopt similar policies. The federal mandate that’s set to begin sometime next month will only last six months before permanent solutions are put into place.
Yes. You as the employer, regardless of your company size, are allowed to impose mandatory vaccine measures (or testing measures) as long as they’re in accordance with OSHA or state-approved mandates (assuming they pass the 100+ employee prerequisite).
It’s strongly recommended to find a local testing service with quick turnaround times, high reliability and different test options.
If your organization currently needs weekly testing to follow the new mandate, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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