Breaking Down President Biden’s New COVID-19 Rules

Thinking of ignoring OSHA’s coming COVID-19 rules?

You can, of course, and you might even get away with it, given OSHA’s generally overwhelmed state. But you could also easily get busted and there’ll be a penalty – a meaningfully large one.

Companies that ignore the policy could face penalties of up to $14,000 for each violation, according to a senior administration official.

President Biden announced last week that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing the new emergency temporary standard (ETS). The rules will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 every week before coming to work. Also, companies would be required to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated.

This announcement follows the vaccination, masking and social distancing requirements issued by the president in July for the public sector — federal employees and on-site contractors.

There currently is no time frame as to when the new ETS will be released, though we wouldn’t expect it to take too long. The government estimates that the ETS will impact over 80 million private-sector workers.

OSHA currently has a COVID-19 ETS in place for health care and health care support workers. This ETS covers hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities; emergency responders; home health care workers; and employees in ambulatory care settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated.

Employers, needless to say, should continue to do all they have to protect at-risk, unvaccinated and fully vaccinated workers. Apprentice Personnel will continue to monitor new and evolving COVID-19 rules and regulations as they are announced.



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