As of November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered that OSHA “take no steps to implement or enforce” the ETS “until further court order.” Prior to this order, OSHA published a COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard in an effort to protect workers. In summary, the standard was written to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers consisting of 100 or more employees from the risk of contracting COVID-19. The standard strongly suggests vaccination and expects covered employers to create, implement and enforce a mandatoryCOVID-19 vaccination policy, excluding employers that adopt a different policy requiring its employees to get vaccinated or accept regular testing on a daily basis.
Part-time employees are included in the employee count; however, independent contractors are not. According to the ETS, all employers are responsible for the cost of providing up to four hours of paid time and paid sick leave needed to fund the vaccination. If an employee refuses to receive vaccination, the employer is not held responsible for costs associated with COVID-19 testing or face coverings. Of course, some employees are with exception when it comes to their own medical conditions and/or religious beliefs.
According to a recent article by Construction Dive, more than 20 state attorneys announced their stand in suing the federal government over the vaccination mandate. In their argument they say, “some Americans will simply leave the job market instead of complying.” Many governors across the country have issued executive orders limiting vaccine mandates.
If or when employers come to an agreement and comply with OSHA’s standard, there will be many additional steps to take for employers. Some of these steps include the employer to constantly have an updated list of employee’s vaccination status and have the power to present proof of vaccination for each employee that is vaccinated.
The few exceptions to this proposed mandate are as follows:
1. Work from home employees do not have to get the vaccine
2. Employees that work exclusively outside are not required
Of course, these exceptions go without controversy as employers may not want it to come across as rewarding for employees who don’t get a vaccine to be able to work from home. Drawing the line between working from home and working in office may result in frustrated employees in the long-run.
The standard has not yet been passed and we will be on the lookout for any updated news on the topic.
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