President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates for large businesses. The directives, which require workers at companies with more than 100 employees to either get fully vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 test results weekly, had been temporarily blocked by a federal appeals panel in Louisiana early last month. Previously scheduled to take effect on Jan. 4, 2022, the regulations will cover some 84 million workers, according to the White House.
Previously, a three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay against the rule. However, in a recent 2-1 decision, the judges for the Sixth Circuit said that OSHA “has demonstrated the pervasive danger that COVID-19 poses to workers — unvaccinated workers in particular — in their workplaces.”
Now that the appeal has been overturned, the adjusted requirement is that the creation of a vaccination plan be put in place by January 10, 2022. Furthermore, OSHA’s enforcement of the vaccine requirement for those employers (and their workforces) impacted will begin on February 10, 2022.
President Biden’s mandate allows workers to present a negative COVID-19 test once a week to continue their employment, though they may have to pay for those tests themselves; however, the DOL can require employers to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated and paid sick leave to recover from any side effects from the shot. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to workers with medical conditions that would make them unable to get a vaccine. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognizes COVID as a disability under the ADA. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, these civil rights protections can’t be waived. It’s still unclear whether workers will be able to defy the vaccine mandate because of their religious beliefs — it’s possible decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
There have been multiple recent petitions filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent the enforcement of the Biden Administration Vaccine Mandate, but if the court chooses not to override the mandate, and if your company employs 100 or more workers, you will be legally required to comply with the mandate.
The LL Roberts Group will continue to provide updates on the mandate on our blog, LinkedIn posts, and direct communications to our PEO clients.