On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced an ambitious plan to increase COVID-19 vaccinations. Here are the highlights of this plan with the greatest impact on private-sector employers:
- Vaccine Mandate for Businesses with 100+ Employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.
- Vaccine Mandate for All Federal Contractors. The President has signed an Executive Order extending this vaccine mandate to all contractors that do business with the federal government, regardless of the contractor’s size.
- Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.
- Mandatory Vaccine-Related PTO for Businesses with 100+ Employees. The OSHA ETS will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off (PTO) for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they are under the weather post-vaccination. Although not in the White House’s press release, the President’s speech about his plan indicated that this PTO also would be available for employees to take a loved one to get vaccinated.