Vaccine Mandate Update
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Vaccine Mandate Update for Private Employers with 100 or More Employees
As we previously reported, President Biden has directed the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that would require all private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate all employees be vaccinated or be tested at the employer’s expense at least once per week. Regulations from OSHA will be drafted over the next few weeks.
The President has also signed an Executive Order requiring all federal contractors (regardless of size) and all federal government employees be vaccinated, with no option of being regularly tested.
- The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has issued revised FAQs that provide employees of federal contractors must be fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021.
- "Fully vaccinated" means two weeks have passed since someone received a single-shot vaccine or the second dose of a two-shot vaccine.
- New hires who start on or after December 8, 2021 must be fully vaccinated when their employment begins.
- Federal contractors must require documentation from employees to prove vaccination, even if an employee has previously attested to their vaccination status.
Vaccine mandates must comply with federal anti-discrimination laws. An employee with a religious objection or disability may need to be accommodated. The FAQs provide that requests for “medical accommodation” or “medical exceptions” should be treated as requests for a disability accommodation.” The task force said the following factors should be considered to determine whether an exception is legally required:
- The basis for the claim;
- The nature of the employee's job responsibilities; and
- The reasonably foreseeable effects on the agency's operations, including protecting other employees and the public from COVID-19.
Unlike accommodation requests in other situations, it appears that if an accommodation to the vaccine mandate is approved, the employee may just continue working as normal.
Health Care Workers
Health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid are also required to be fully vaccinated. A rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is anticipated to be released in October 2021.
SESCO Management Consultants will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s COVID-19 Resource Center as additional information becomes available.
SESCO retainer clients and members of select associations can call or email SESCO to discuss specific industry, state and/or company questions and concerns. Those receiving these alerts that are not SESCO clients can contact SESCO by phone, fax or email to explore support options.