President Biden announces federal vaccine mandate
By Katie Tranter, DBL Law
On 09 September 2021, President Joe Biden announced new federal vaccine mandates that are expected to impact nearly 80 million Americans, representing two-thirds of the American workforce. The mandate is aimed at combating the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. President Biden has directed the Department of Labor to issue a rule mandating that all businesses with 100 or more employees either require their employees to be fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to receive mandatory weekly Covid-19 testing.
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue an emergency temporary standard to implement this requirement and may be the enforcing agency. Fines to businesses for non-compliance will be up to USD 14,000 for each violation. The plan also will include a rule requiring paid time off for employees to be vaccinated and to recover from any vaccination side effects.
The announcement raises many questions for employers who will be implementing the mandate. These questions include how the 100 employees will be counted, whether the mandate will extend to independent contractors, and whether the mandate will apply to non-profits. The mandate also raises questions regarding vaccine compliance, conflicts between federal and state laws, and employer liability. Likewise, employers are hoping that the new rules will address the mandatory testing element of the directive. Unanswered questions with respect to testing include acceptable types of testing, how to handle remote workers, and who should pay for testing. It is likely that these questions will remain unanswered until the federal regulations governing this mandate are issued.
We will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available. The full Biden administration plan can be found at whitehouse.gov/covidplan/
Katie TranterGGI member firm
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Dressman, Benzinger LaVelle psc (DBL Law) provides a complete range of services to meet legal needs in a wide variety of industries. With cross-industry collaboration, DBL Law attorneys offer comprehensive service on complex matters that transcend simple categorisation in many areas of law.
Katie Tranter's law practice includes advising clients on compliance with various employment laws and regulations and providing in-house training on such issues. She has experience drafting employee policies and procedures, as well as employment agreements. She has handled cases involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, Kentucky Labor Cabinet, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. She litigates cases in state and federal court.
Publsihed: Employment Law Newsletter, No.11, Autumn 2021 l Photo: scaliger - stock.adobe.com