**Note: The information in this post is as of September 10, 2021 and will continue to develop over the next couple of weeks and there may be components of it that change. Although this is not a requirement as of yet, it is expected to be and it is best to be prepared. Check back for updates or reach out to us with questions.
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced that he has tasked the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) with developing a rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees to:
Mandate vaccinations for all employees
Require weekly testing of those not vaccinated
Provide paid time off to get the vaccination as well as for any time away because of reactions or side effects from the vaccination
Not that long ago, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard for the Healthcare industry requiring vaccinations and other activities to help stop the spread of COVID. Additionally, an executive order was issued for federal employees as well as federal contractors that work on federal property that required, they either be vaccinated or have weekly testing. The weekly testing options has been eliminated as of the update on September 9th and it now is required that all employees working for the federal government or employees of federal contractors be vaccinated. For federal contractor companies, that means the vaccination mandate needs to implemented for all employees, not just those working on federal property and the option if weekly testing rather than vaccination is eliminated.
If you’re a private sector employer with 100 or more employees, what does all of this mean for you? It means it time to start planning. It will be a couple of weeks before the Emergency Temporary Standards will be issued by OSHA, which will provide more detail as well as (hopefully) answer some of the unanswered questions. However, getting a plan together now in preparation for the OSHA guidelines will help with the transition and avoid any unnecessary fines for non-compliance. Which are estimated at around $14,000 for non-compliance.
Designate a team to strategize and plan for the changes. Ensure that someone on the team, whether internal or an external resource, is experienced and focused on the Human Resource component. Specifically the various compliance components, employee communication, company impact, etc.
Develop and/or revisit your COVID policy and ensure it is compliant with a vaccine mandate, includes wording and the process for weekly testing for the unvaccinated
Develop the process for facilitating requests for accommodations for those unable to get vaccinated because of medical or religious considerations.
Consider other federal, state or local regulations that may be impacted.
Determine if any other workplace policies may be impacted and potentially revised, whether temporarily or long term.
Prepare a communication plan to distribute this information to all employees and designate a point of contact(s) that employees can go to with questions, comments, and concerns.
The Employers Advantage LLC team can help through this process and be a part of the team to prepare your business for the guidelines as they get issued. Let us know how we can help.