Shortly after President Joe Biden’s announcement regarding an upcoming emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100+ employees to mandate vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing, OSHA has released more information on the standard.
In a brief press conference, the agency provided a few extra details about the ETS, but there are still a number of missing details.
First, the ETS will be issued in the “coming weeks,” but they don’t know how many weeks, according to law firm Shawe Rosenthal.
Second, keep in mind that this ETS isn’t written yet, so all of this is subject to change.
These are the questions OSHA answered during the press conference:
- How are the 100 employees counted? Company-wide, not by location.
- Will the ETS apply to fully remote employees? No, but if those remote employees do come into the office on occasion or work with others in the remote location then the requirements will apply.
- Are reasonable accommodations required for medical and religious needs? Yes. The normal interactive process to determine these exemptions will still need to be conducted.
- Can an employer fire an employee for refusing to get vaccinated or tested? It’s up to the employer to determine how to enforce the requirement as employee disciplinary action is something OSHA won’t get involved with.
- Can an employer require vaccination without the testing option? Yes.
- What if an employer is covered by another ETS or other rules? Employers must comply with all applicable rules, orders and standards, but the agency claims they will all be consistent with each other.
- How do you verify vaccination? No answer to that one yet, but it’ll be in the ETS.
- Is one of the two doses sufficient under the definition of vaccinated? Again, no answer for this one, but the ETS will supposedly provide a proper definition.
- Will there be more? Yes. Additional steps will be announced by President Biden in the weeks ahead, according to OSHA.
One more note: Nov. 22, 2021, is the date for all federal employees to get fully vaccinated under President Biden’s new mandate.