In response to rising COVID-19 transmission nationwide due to the highly contagious Delta variant, President Joe Biden announced sweeping vaccination mandates applying to more than 80 million American workers. While details have yet to be released, a summary of what we currently know about the mandates are described below.
Large Employers. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to either require their workers to be fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to receive weekly COVID testing. Covered employers will be required to provide paid time off to employees for the time spent receiving a vaccine and recovering from any side effects. OSHA will have the ability to fine non-compliant employers up to $14,000 per violation. An Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) detailing the new rule should be published within the next few weeks and take effect shortly thereafter.
Federal Workers & Contractors. All federal executive branch workers and employees of federal contractors will be required to receive vaccinations. This represents an expansion of the previous executive order from July 2021.
Healthcare Sector. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) is taking action to require 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. The CMS recently announced a vaccination requirement for nursing facilities and the new rule will also apply to nursing home staff as well as staff in hospitals and other CMS-regulated settings, including clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care. While many states have already implemented their own vaccination mandate for the healthcare sector, including California, the purpose of this new rule is to create a consistent standard nationwide.
Entertainment Venues. President Biden encouraged entertainment venues such as sports arenas and concert halls to require either proof of vaccination or a negative test.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP