White House Reviewing COVID-19 Vaccination Rules

Politics aside, it’s the beginning of November 2021 and, if you’re a serious business owner, you have to ask yourself:

Is your company ready for the coming COVID-19 workplace vaccination and testing mandates from OSHA?

OSHA on Oct. 12 sent what’s known as its emergency temporary standard, or ETS, to the White House for final review.

As we’ve reported in this space before, on Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order mandating that private employers who employ more than 100 employees either: (1) mandate Covid-19 vaccines for their employees, or (2) implement weekly Covid-19 testing programs. 

We anticipate that the ETS will be issued within the next several weeks, if not days.

According to a survey of human resources leaders, 46 percent of respondents said they plan to require employees to get vaccinated in locations that allow such policies. However, more than 33 percent of respondents said they remain unsure about their vaccine plans.

Employers who fail to comply with the vaccine mandate ETS could face costly OSHA investigations and financial penalties.

Our best advice is to prepare for the mandate as soon as possible. Communicate clearly with your employees to ensure they know what is expected as far as vaccination and testing once the mandate becomes effective.

Employers should also ensure they have a rigorous process in place to handle requests for accommodation for covered medical disabilities, religious exemptions, and pregnancy-related accommodation requests.

Although there are many unanswered questions regarding how to implement the vaccine mandate or testing program, and who is paying for what, getting out in front of the mandate cannot hurt.

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