OSHA Workplace Vaccine Mandate Update

As you are undoubtedly aware, there are new Federal mandates set to go into effect regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine for those with 100 or more employees. As with many pieces of legislation and regulation, an exact understanding of how implementation of such mandates work can be a moving target. I am closely monitoring the situation and will keep you informed as we learn more. The text of the OSHA National News Release is found here: https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/national/11042021

What We Know:

  • Policies to comply must be in place by December 5, 2021
  • Deadline for implementation is January 4, 2022
  • Workers must receive paid time off to get vaccinated
  • There is a weekly testing option for those who do not want to get vaccinated. This cost is not federally mandated to be covered by the employers. California regulations may differ.
  • The federal government has a limited capacity to enforce these laws and will rely largely on employee enforcement and claims filed against specific employers.

Concerns:

  • A significant portion of the workforce is resistant to the vaccine. It may become more difficult to find enough workers to fulfill your needs.
  • Even with the testing option for employees, the parameters of the testing option are potentially burdensome to the employees and thus will disincentivize them from joining or maintaining their position in the workforce.
  • While this is listed as a temporary measure, there is little clarity on how long this mandate will be in effect.

Next steps:

  • Almost immediately after the announcement at the end last week, numerous pieces of litigation were filed against the mandate. I will be monitoring these pieces of litigation to see how they affect implementation timefrarmes.
  • There are new medical developments in the works, one being a COVID-19 pill that reduces the severity of symptoms if someone were to contract the disease. This alternative option, once approved, will undoubtedly need to be included in regulations as an option. We will monitor these updates and the public reception to this alternative to see how it affects ease of implementation.

I will provide updates as soon as more information becomes available.

Sincerely,

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