The Biden administration recently announced a new national strategy to combat COVID-19. One part of the plan requires employers with 100+ employees (company-wide, not per location) to ensure workers are vaccinated or tested weekly.
OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in the coming weeks. The ETS will also require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated or recover from vaccine-related side effects (however, employers can require employees to use their existing paid time off for this purpose.) According to law firm Fisher Phillips, “Covered employers who ignore the standard could face OSHA citations and penalties of up to $14,000 per violation.”
If you haven’t already developed infrastructure to manage this requirement, now is the time to do so. The National Law Review recommends determining:
- If the ETS applies to your company.
- How to deal with remote workers.
- How to coordinate with onsite contractors about compliance, particularly those with fewer than 100 employees.
- How to identify vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, and how to update that information.
- How employees are to report the results of testing.
- Whether to require proof of vaccination, and if so, what proof to require.
- Whether to sponsor on-site vaccination clinics.
- Whether to sponsor on-site testing.
- Whether to supply test kits, and if so, how to obtain them; and if not, how to instruct employees about obtaining test kits.
- Whether to pay for test kits, and if so, how to do so.
- How to provide paid time off for vaccination and recovery.
- How to deal with employees who refuse both vaccination and testing.
- How to keep records supporting compliance, keeping in mind that the standard on access to employee exposure and medical records, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1020, may apply to some records.