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OSHA directed to draft emergency vaccine requirement

Authored by Bukaty Companies on September 13, 2021

On September 9, President Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to draft an emergency rule requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. The directive is part of Biden’s six-pronged national strategy to combat COVID-19.

OSHA is expected to issue the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in coming weeks, which will provide guidance for employers subject to the new rule. Opposition to the ruling has already been voiced and legal challenges are imminent, which will pose questions and uncertainty for employers.

A summary of Biden’s plan follows.

  1. Vaccinate the unvaccinated
  • require vaccinations for federal workers and contractors who do business with the government;
  • require vaccinations for health care workers in health care settings that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursements, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, nursing facilities, nursing homes and home health agencies;
  • call on entertainment venues and other large-group venues to require patrons to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 testing results to enter the facility; and
  • provide paid time off as part of the OSHA ETS for workers to get a vaccine or recover from post-vaccination symptoms.

  1. Further protecting the vaccinated
  • a plan for administering booster shots pending authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and
  • provide easy access to and information on how to access boosters for those eligible.

  1. Keeping schools safely open
  • call on states to adopt vaccine requirements for all school employees;
  • a plan to implement prevention strategies that allow schools to remain open for safe in-person learning; and
  • resources for the FDA to support timely review of vaccinations for children under the age of 12.

  1. Increased COVID-19 testing and continuation of mask requirements
  • continuation of masking requirements on federal property and in airports and other modes of public transportation; and
  • expansion of free COVID-19 pharmacy testing and affordable at-home tests.

  1. Protecting our economic recovery
  • provide long-term, low-cost loans for small businesses through the Small Business Administrations (SBA), and
  • reduce the complexity for small businesses to receive Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

  1. Improving care for those with COVID-19
  • increase Department of Defense support to provide clinicians to help hospitals overburdened by COVID-19 cases, and
  • increase shipments of and access to free monoclonal antibody treatments to reduce the risk of hospitalization.

Given the impact and uncertainty of Biden’s plan, specifically the vaccination requirement for employers with 100 or more employees, Bukaty Companies will continue to monitor the related issues and provide support on OSHA’s ETS once released.

For additional information, contact your Bukaty benefits consultant at 913.345.0440.

Blog Category: Compliance