Last month, President Biden directed OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires private employers with 100+ employees to ensure all employees are either vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or are able to produce a negative test each week. Employers (of any size) that are federal contractors or receive certain federal funding will also be expected to meet the employee vaccination requirements – without the option of a “test out.” We expect OSHA to issue an ETS in the near future, which will hopefully answer some of the questions surrounding this mandate.
Until this summer’s COVID-related ETS for healthcare workers, OSHA had not successfully issued an Emergency Temporary Standard since the 1980s (pertaining to asbestos). Effective July 2021, the agency issued its first ETS in decades highlighting the need for healthcare employers to provide certain protection measures against COVID-19 for employees. By design, an ETS will remain in effect until a permanent rule is issued.
Many details of how this is all expected to work have yet to be disclosed, which makes it very difficult for our team to provide the best possible guidance. In the meantime, we can direct you to the most helpful reference we’ve found thus far, which is an article published by the National Law Review. We encourage you to stay tuned to our blog, LinkedIn page and your outside counsel – things are changing rapidly and we’ll do our very best to keep you informed!