Employers Must Comply with New Vaccine Mandate by January 4
The Biden administration announced details of a new vaccine mandate today that will impact all U.S. employers with 100 workers or more.
Employers who meet this threshold will need to require employees to be vaccinated by January 4, 2022 or produce weekly verification of a negative COVID-19 test. Unvaccinated workers will also be required to wear a mask at work as of December 5, 2021.
Under the mandate, employers are not obligated to pay for the testing. However, as of December 5, 2021, they will be required to provide workers with paid time off to get the vaccine and sick leave to recover from any vaccination side effects that prevent them from coming to work.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be responsible for carrying out inspections and enforcing fines for non-compliance, which can run up to $13,653 for a single violation and up to $136,532 for willful violations.
State-specific occupational standards can replace the OSHA mandate, as long as they are equally or more effective and implemented within a 30-day window.
Heightened Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Providers
A second mandate imposes heightened requirements for covered employers participating in Medicare or Medicaid, including hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dialysis facilities, home health agencies and long-term care facilities.
Workers at these organizations, including contractors, will need to be vaccinated by January 4, 2022 but will not have the option for weekly testing. Religious and medical exemptions can be made, and employers are responsible to have a plan to comply with the exemptions.
These mandates will undoubtedly face opposition and court challenges in the weeks ahead. Grassi’s Human Resources Consulting team will keep you updated on new developments.
Our team has significant experience with plan rollout and compliance. If you need assistance with planning new policies and procedures to comply with this impending mandate, please contact Jeff Agranoff, HR Consulting Principal, at 516.336.2418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.