UPDATE: On November 17, 2021, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation. Stay tuned for future developments.
On November 4, 2021, the White House announced the details of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard requiring employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccines for their workforce. The deadline to implement these policies is January 4, 2022.
- All workers in a company with 100 employees must be vaccinated or produce negative weekly COVID tests. This includes all employees (full-time, part-time and contract). There is no exception for multiple workplaces with fewer than 100 employees.
- Employers must require each employee to provide proof of vaccination status. Acceptable documents include the following:
- Record of immunization form from a physician, provider or pharmacy
- Copy of CDC COVID-19 vaccination card
- Medical records with COVID-19 vaccination status displayed (Employers should be conscious of HIPAA)
- Immunization records from Public Health
- Employees who cannot get the vaccine due to an approved religious or medical exemption must provide a negative COVID-19 test weekly. Employers are not required to pay for the costs of the test either directly or within their insurance plan.
- Unvaccinated employees will be required to wear masks within the workplace.
- Employers must provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects of receiving the vaccine.
- While the vaccination requirement is delayed until January 4, 2022, employers must comply with allowing paid time off for the shots and instituting masking requirements for unvaccinated personnel beginning December 5, 2021.
- Employers are subject to recordkeeping and reporting requirements that will be provided in detail by OSHA over the next few weeks.
- Employers who do not comply could be subject to fines up to $13,600 per violation.
Dates of importance (more guidance to follow):
- No later than December 5, 2021 employers must have their compliance policy in place.
- Vaccination deadline for employees is January 5, 2022. Mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing must start at this time for unvaccinated employees.
There are numerous oppositions to this, and we do expect lawsuits to continue to be filed with a possibility of a delay. However, employers need to start the process of getting prepared for this mandate.
Warren Averett’s Human Resources Consultants and Advisors are studying the update and monitoring the situation closely.
COVID-19 Resources and Connecting with Warren Averett
You can access a variety of additional resources for businesses navigating COVID-19 any time here on our resources page. If you have any questions, need assistance or would like more information about how this impacts your specific organization, please connect with your Warren Averett advisor or reach out directly to Warren Averett’s HR Consulting Manager, Dianne Wilson.
This article was originally posted on November 5, 2021 and was most recently updated on November 18, 2021.