On November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor released its long-awaited Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 vaccination and testing, which requires employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing by Jan. 4, 2022. OSHA expects the ETS to remain in effect for up to six months. Here are some key points you should know:
- OSHA ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees company-wide and requires covered employers to determine the immunization status of each employee by obtaining proof of immunization status and keeping an appropriate record of that. -this.
- Covered employers have until December 5, 2021 to develop and implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy and distribute the required written materials, including the CDC document “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines , Protections against retaliation and discrimination, and penalties for knowingly providing false statements or other information.
- Unvaccinated employees must submit to a weekly COVID-19 test at least every seven days, beginning January 4, 2021, unless the employee works remotely or exclusively outdoors. Employers are not required to pay for COVID-19 testing, but employers should consult with legal counsel to determine if other laws or regulations may be involved in shifting the cost of weekly testing to employees.
- Employees must be granted a maximum of four hours of paid leave to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Unvaccinated employees must wear appropriate face coverings in the workplace as of December 5, 2021.
- Employers who have already implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy should review their existing policy and make any necessary changes to comply with OSHA ETS.
Vaccination mandate challenges for federal contractors and subcontractors
Today Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced that Ohio has filed a lawsuit challenging the federal vaccine mandate for federal contractors, subcontractors and their employees. This lawsuit was joined by Kentucky, Tennessee and two Ohio County sheriffs, and challenges the order of constitutionality and alleges an adverse effect on public safety that would be caused by the warrant. The case has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, which is expected to receive temporary and preliminary injunction motions that would prevent the rule from coming into effect. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.