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OSHA issues rule based upon Biden Mandate

Published:  November 5, 2021

Yesterday, November 4, 2021, OSHA published its rule putting into effect President Biden’s mandate regarding worker vaccinations. The OSHA rule provides some needed clarity for employers in terms of compliance.

The previously announced Biden mandate applies to employers of 100 or more employees, medical facilities that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid, and federal contractors with a contract value over $250,000. However, the announcement did not address how the number of 100 employees would be calculated. While the OSHA rule clarifies multiple different scenarios of how to calculate the total number of employees (including whether to use independent contractors, or employees working remotely, or employees working in different locations), the rule makes clear that the number of employees is to be calculated using the number of employees as of the date the rule was published. The OSHA rule also clarifies that employers who had adopted a mandatory vaccine policy prior to the Biden mandate are in compliance, even if those policy contains exceptions for employees who are not vaccinated based upon religious grounds and disability/medical grounds.

The OSHA rule also states that covered employers who do not comply could face penalties of $14,000 per violation. Further, employers’ mandatory vaccination plan must be readily accessible to all employees. In addition, the OSHA rule mandates that employers have 30 days from the effective date of the rule to:

  • establish a vaccination policy;
  • determine vaccination status of employees and obtain proof,
  • ensure unvaccinated employees wear face masks at work and in company vehicles; and
  • provide employees information about workplace policies/procedures, and protections against retaliation and discrimination, and also information about laws with potential criminal penalties for supplying false information.

The Rule further clarifies that Employers will have 60 days from the date the rule becomes effective to ensure that unvaccinated employees test weekly.

The new OSHA rule will add a new wrinkle to the constantly fluid situation of compliance with government regulations based upon the COVID 19 pandemic. 

If you have any questions about the new OSHA rule, or any other aspect of employment law, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at The Royal Law Firm.