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OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Vaccine and Testing Mandate

Thursday, November 4, 2021
OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Vaccine and Testing Mandate
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on November 4th a federal emergency temporary standard (ETS) to address COVID-19 infection in the workplace. Affected employers will be required to comply with most provisions of the ETS by December 5, 2021, and with its testing requirements by January 4, 2022. Affected employers include private employers with 100 or more employees (firm- or company-wide count). State plans will have 30 days to adopt the federal ETS or implement their own vaccination standard.

ETS Exemptions

The requirements of the ETS do not apply to:

  • Employees when they are working from home; 
  • Employees who work exclusively outdoors;
  • Employees who do not work with other individuals present;
  • Those covered by the health care ETS; 
  • Those covered under the Safer Federal  Workforce Task Force;
  • Employers that have fewer than 100 employees; and
  • Public employers in states without State plans.

 

ETS Requirements

The ETS requires employers to:

  • Develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy; or
  • Create a policy allowing employees to choose to get a vaccination or wear a face-covering in the workplace and have weekly COVID-19 testing done.

Employers must determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination and keep a roster of each employee’s vaccinations status.

Paid Leave

Employers are also required to allow reasonable time—including up to four hours of paid time—to receive a primary vaccination dose. Reasonable time and paid sick leave are also required to recover from any side effects of the vaccination. Employees are required to provide immediate notice of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis and will be removed immediately from work until return to work criteria are met. 

Weekly Testing Requirements

Employees who are not fully vaccinated must be tested weekly or within seven days before returning to work. The ETS does not require employers to pay for any costs associated with testing. However, employer payment for testing may be required by other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements or other collectively negotiated agreements.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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