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November 4th, 2021
Vaccine Mandate Update: US Department of Labor Issues Emergency Temporary Standard Regarding Mandatory Vaccination Policies
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a new emergency temporary standard to protect workers from the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace. Under the emergency temporary standard, employers with 100 or more employees must establish a written mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy or adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
The emergency temporary standard is effective November 5, 2021. Employers must comply with most requirements within 30 days of publication (December 5, 2021) and with testing for employees who are not fully vaccinated within 60 days of publication (January 4, 2021).
Among other requirements, the emergency temporary standard requires employers to:
- obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee’s vaccination status;
- provide up to four hours of paid time to receive each vaccine dose and paid sick leave to recover from the side effects;
- ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer);
- require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis, and then remove the employee from the workplace—regardless of vaccination status—until they meet the required return to work criteria; and
- ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.
Notably, the emergency temporary standard does not require employers to pay for testing or face coverings. But employers may be required to compensate for testing and provide face coverings to employees to comply with other laws, regulations, or collective bargaining agreements.
Accommodations and Exemptions
Additionally, an employer implementing a mandatory vaccination policy can exempt employees for whom a vaccine is medically contraindicated, for whom medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination, or who are legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal civil rights laws because they have a disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances that conflict with the vaccination requirement.
Finally, the emergency temporary standard does not apply to employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals are present, work from home, or work exclusively outdoors. It also does not apply to (a) federal contractors and subcontractors covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors; or (b) settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services when subject to the requirements of § 1910.502.
If you have questions about the emergency temporary standard, please contact, Wendy Stryker at (212) 705-4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Tricia Legittino at (310) 579-9632 or email@example.com, Jesse Klinger at (212) 826-5574 or firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Employment Compliance, Training & Litigation Group.
Other Employment Law Alerts
Changes to Face Mask and Social Distancing Requirements in Updated NY HERO Act Model Plan
As discussed in our previous alerts and blog posts, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (the “NY HERO Act”) requires employers to among other things maintain, and upon designation by the NYS Commissioner of Health, implement, an “airborne infectious disease” plan that meets certain minimum standards. Read more.
September 28 2021
Employers Must Implement NY HERO Act Safety Plans Now
On September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. This designation requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans that are in compliance with HERO Act standards. Read more.
September 8 2021
The Fast and the Furious: Four Major Developments in COVID-19 and Return-to-Work Protocols
In case you blinked, we covered four major developments that came out in the past week that every employer needs to know as they reopen their offices. Read more.
June 16 2021