On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced the impending COVID-19 vaccine requirements that will apply to federal workers, federal contractors, and private employers with more than 100 employees. If you’re an employer in any of these categories, here’s what you need to know:
Employers with 100 or more employees – Upcoming vaccine / testing requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS) that will order all employers with 100 or more employees to require that employees be: 1) fully immunized or 2 ) that they submit a negative COVID test weekly report before coming to work. Employers must also provide employees with paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.
While we do not yet know all the details of the ETS, OSHA has indicated that the 100 employee requirement will be calculated company-wide. In addition, the ETS will not apply to employees who work remotely.
The ETS will enter into force upon publication, but can only be used for six months. After this time, it should be replaced by a permanent OSHA standard that has gone through the formal rule-making process, including public notices and comments. This rule is expected to affect more than 80 million workers.
Federal workers – must be fully immunized by November 22, 2021
All federal employees must be fully immunized by November 22, 2021. In order to meet this deadline, employees must have received their last dose of the vaccine by November 8, 2021. The vaccine requirement applies to all federal employees, regardless of their location. , including employees who work remotely. Employees will be required to provide documentation proving that they have been vaccinated and will be subject to disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the Federal Service for refusing to be vaccinated. However, federal agencies will provide reasonable accommodations to employees who cannot be vaccinated due to a disability or sincere religious belief, practice or observance.
Federal contracts – Vaccine requirements expected by September 24, 2021
According to the September 9, 2021 “Executive Order to Ensure Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors,” federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to comply with the upcoming occupational safety guidelines that the Task Force on Federal Workforce Safety will release by September 24.
While the executive order does not explicitly mention vaccine requirements, President Biden’s announcement notes that federal workers’ vaccine tenure will be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the government. Therefore, the requirements of federal contractors are likely to mirror the current requirements of federal employees. The requirements will apply to all workplaces in which a person works on or in connection with a federal government contract or contract-like instrument.
Upcoming safety guidelines (and likely vaccine requirements) will apply to any new contract or contract-like instrument, including a new solicitation, extension, renewal or exercise of an option that meets the requirements. ” one of the following criteria:
- A supply contract for services, construction or a real estate lease;
- A contract covered by the Service Contracts Act (SCA);
- A concession contract;
- A contract in connection with federal property or land providing services to federal employees, dependents or the general public; Where
- Subcontracting for executive agency contracts for services.
However, the new security requirements will NOT apply to:
- Subsidies ;
- Contracts with Indian tribes;
- Contracts of a value equal to or less than the simplified vesting threshold (currently $ 250,000);
- Agreements involving employees performing work outside the United States; Where
- Sub-contracts only for the supply of products.
Healthcare workers – Provisional settlement expected in October
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are developing an interim rule that will require workers at facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements to be fully immunized. The interim rule will build on the existing requirement for nursing homes and will apply to hospitals, dialysis centers, day surgery centers, home health agencies and other facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. CMS plans to publish the interim rule in October.[View source.]