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OSHA Gives Employers Time to Comply to Vaccine Mandate

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is giving employers a bit of breathing room while the fight over mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.

OSHA acted after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 17 lifted a stay on the vaccine rules, which affect businesses with at least 100 employees.

Employers now have until Jan. 10 before OSHA will begin enforcing the rule and until Feb. 9 before facing the potential of a citation for failing to comply with what’s known as an Emergency Temporary Standard, or ETS.

The directive is expected to cover more than 80 million private-sector workers. 

States that oppose the ETS, responding to the appeals court decision, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. “We remain confident that the court will agree that the mandate is unconstitutional federal overreach,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. 

If you’re a business owner, getting ready is your best move, given that there’s no way to know how the Supreme Court will respond.

Preparations should include providing notice to employees and gathering vaccination information.

The majority of U.S. employers now have, or plan to have, a vaccine mandate as many return-to-work plans are pushed back again, due to concerns about the new omicron Covid variant.

According to a Willis Towers Watson survey of 543 employers, 57% of all organizations said they either require or plan to require vaccinations. Of that, 18% already do and 7% are planning to put a requirement in place.

Another 32% will do so if OSHA’s ETS takes effect.

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