OSHA releases COVID-19 Vaccine & Testing ETS, immediately challenged in court
On Thursday, Nov. 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued their expected COVID-19 Vaccine & Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which states that employers with 100 or more workers require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees or implement a weekly testing program for unvaccinated employees. The deadline to comply with this Standard is December 4, and all employees must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. This new Standard will cover 84 million American workers.
This ETS was immediately challenged, with a stay issued by a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana. The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), which CSDA is a part of, will also be issuing comments against the Standard ahead of the Dec. 4 deadline.
What does this mean for my company?
For many CSDA members, the ETS will have little to no effect, as this requirement only applies to companies with 100 or more employees. This includes part-time employees, but not independent contractors. Companies with over 100 employees will be required to:
• Require all employees to receive one dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine by December 4, and full vaccination is required by January 4, 2022.
• Employers must pay employees for time off to get vaccinated, and if necessary, pay for time off to recover from any side effects of getting vaccinated.
• Unvaccinated employees must test weekly for COVID-19 and produce a negative test result. Employers are not required to pay for testing or time off for testing. Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 is not permitted in the workplace until they have received a negative test.
• All unvaccinated employees are required to wear a face mask at all times indoors and while traveling in a vehicle with other employees.
• If an employer has fewer than 100 employees, this ETS does not apply.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 750 million Americans to date. A recent White House Report states that vaccine requirements work and are good for the economy. According to Wall Street analysts, a vaccine requirement could result in an additional 5 million Americans going back to work. With over 70 precent of adult Americans currently vaccinated, this ETS is expected to raise that number significantly.
CSDA will continue to monitor any developments from OSHA, the White House and the CISC.