President Biden Mandates Vaccines for Private Employers
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that he will sign an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Labor to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all personnel at companies with more than 100 employees. The directive is expected to include a mandatory weekly test-out option, if the employee refuses the vaccine. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement, which impacts more than 80 million workers in private sector businesses. The ETS will also include a requirement that these employers provide paid time off for employees to go get their vaccine.
Current testing supplies are likely insufficient to meet the demand of this requirement. The president’s plan also calls for allocating $2 billion toward the production of 280 million rapid and at-home tests. Free federal testing at pharmacies will also be expanded. At this time, it is unclear when supplies will be distributed.
In addition, the president is mandating all federal employees and federal contractors be vaccinated – with no test-out option. This also applies to the more than 17 million health care workers employed by institutions that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.
You can learn more about the White House’s vaccination plans here
Friday, September 10, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. ET: U.S. Chamber Briefing on the COVID Executive Order
As you may know, President Biden is expected to issue executive orders (EOs) later today regarding new policies to combat the COVID virus. The White House just released this document summarizing the EOs, which can be found here
The EOs include the following:
· Department of Labor Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with more than 100 people to require vaccination or weekly testing
· Department of Labor rule requiring employers with more than 100 people to provide paid time off for vaccinations
· Require federal employees to get vaccinated within 75 days or risk termination (which would remove the option for weekly testing in lieu of vaccination)
· Extend the federal employee vaccination requirement to federal contractors
· Require Medicare and Medicaid funding recipients to fully vaccinate their staff
· Urge schools to set up regular testing based on community spread
· Expand free COVID testing
The U.S. Chamber team is already working to prepare a list of likely questions and policy issues raised by the EO.