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What You Should Know: OSHA Publishes Mandatory Vaccination Temporary Standard effective 11/5/2021

OSHA submitted for approval their temporary emergency standard requiring employers with more than 100 employees to have all employees vaccinated for COVID-19. This standard goes into effect on November 5, 2021, however, the time period for employees to be vaccinated or more specific, those who remain unvaccinated to begin weekly COVID-19 testing will be enforced on private employers beginning January 4, 2022. Failure to meet these requirement will result in a $14,000 per occurrence fine under the Act. This standard is technically temporary and will be in effect for 6 months, however may be extended as the Federal Government monitors the progression of the pandemic.

There are some specifics that are important to note as employers attempt to determine how they will comply with this new standard. One of these is how the 100 employee level is to be determined. For example:

1. Employees who work from home are counted in the 100 even if they never visit or see any other employees or customers.

2. Employees who work exclusively outside are counted in the total employment count

3. Temporary and Season employees are counted in the determination of the requirement

4. Multi location employees owned by the same entity, even if those locations do not employ more than 1 worker are counted. So a chain of 13 Subway restaurants each having 8 employees total on payroll, all 104 employees would have to be covered under the standard.

Employers are also the enforcement of the vaccine status of their workforce and can discipline employees for not following the standards in the workplace. The standard outlines specific acceptable proof of vaccination, however does not require employers to track the employee's status of the "Boosters" or additional doses. There are also specifics rules for employees that are not vaccinated that will be required to submit to weekly testing or, if remote employees, only 7-days prior to a required visit to the worksite with other employees. Self-administered over the counter COVID-19 tests are permitted only if they are proctored by the employer or a medical professional and employers are not required to pay for weekly COVID-19 testing, however employers are required to maintain documentation of the results of every COVID-19 test of their employees.

With regards to vaccinations, because each vaccine is different the timeline to meet "fully vaccinated" status depends on the vaccine you take.

  • Janssen Vaccine - 1 dose - must be taken by January 4, 2022

  • Pfizer Vaccine- 2 doses - first dose must be taken by December 13, 2021 with second dose by January 4, 2022

  • Moderna Vaccine - s doses - first dose must be December 6, 2021 with second dose by January 4, 2022.

Employers should immediately start preparing for the education of their workforce and their management of documentation and protocols to comply with this standard. The full text of the temporary standard can be found at the following links. OSHA Coronavirus ETS and the FAQs

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