Vaccine Mandate for Certain Employers to Take Effect January 4
Coronavirus mandate. The Department of Labor issues emergency temporary standard to protect workers from coronavirus
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) today, designed to protect 84 million private sector workers from the spread of the coronavirus on the job. The agency warns the nation’s unvaccinated workers face grave danger from workplace exposure to coronavirus, and immediate action is necessary to protect them.
Under this standard, covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
Since 2020, the coronavirus has led to the deaths of 750,000 people in the United States, and the infection of millions more, making it the deadliest pandemic in the nation’s history. Many of the people killed and infected by this virus were workers whose primary exposures occurred at their jobs. OSHA estimates that this rule will save thousands of lives and prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations due to workplace exposure to COVID-19 over the course of the ETS.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on workers, and we continue to see dangerous levels of cases,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. “We must take action to implement this emergency temporary standard to contain the virus and protect people in the workplace against the grave danger of COVID-19. Many businesses understand the benefits of having their workers vaccinated against COVID-19, and we expect many will be pleased to see this OSHA rule go into effect.”
Impact on employers
The ETS covers employers with 100 or more employees and provides options for compliance. It also requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and to allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects. Read the original announcement of the vaccine mandate on our website (when the executive order was first released), which also extends to employees of outside contractors that do business with the federal government.
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