OSHA Publishes ETS for COVID Vaccination and Testing Policy

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OSHA Publishes ETS for COVID Vaccination and Testing Policy

November 5, 2021

The US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued  an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that establishes requirements for large employers (100 employees or more) to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy or adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated beginning January 5, 2022 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Unvaccinated employees will need to wear face covering at work beginning December 5, 2021. The requirements apply to 84 million private sector workers. Employees who work remotely, away from other workers, or outside are exempt.

Employers are required to provide up to four hours of paid time during work hours for employees to receive each primary vaccination dose and reasonable time to recover from side effects. Employers are not required to pay the cost of COVID-19 testing for employees who choose not to be vaccinated and are not required to provide paid time to any employee who must be removed from the workplace as a result of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis of COVID-19.

According to the Wall Street Journal, OSHA will conduct some workplace compliance inspections but will rely primarily on company record-keeping and worker reports of violations. Businesses could face up to $13,650 per violation.

In a separate action, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a vaccine mandate without a testing option for health-care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. This action will apply to more than 17 million workers.

The OSHA ETS interim final rule is effective November 5, 2021 with a public comment period that ends December 6, 2021. The compliance date for all provisions of the ETS is 30 days after the effective date (December 5) except the compliance date for COVID-19 testing of employees who are not fully vaccinated is 60 day after the effective date (January 5).



US Department of Labor's OSHA issues emergency temporary standard to protect workers from coronavirus
Increases protections for 84M private sector workers

COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard
Interim final rule; request for comments • 86 FR 61402 • Published Nov 5, 2021

OSHA Vaccine Mandate and the Biden Administration: What to Know
by Sarah Chaney Cambon • Wall Street Journal • Nov 4, 2021