On Jan. 3, Minnesota became the first state-plan state to officially adopt federal OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).
The state plans to exercise enforcement discretion as far as compliance dates are concerned, similar to what federal OSHA has implemented since the stay on the ETS was lifted Dec. 17 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Federal OSHA indicated it won’t issue citations for noncompliance with ETS requirements until Jan. 10, 2022, and won’t issue citations for testing requirements until Feb. 9, 2022.
Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) states it plans to follow the federal agency’s lead and will adopt the same timeline, according to the state’s Department of Labor and Industry.
While the stay against the ETS imposed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in November 2021 was lifted, that decision has been appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, and MNOSHA states it will react accordingly to that decision when it comes.
MNOSHA will follow federal OSHA’s ETS, which covers employers with 100 or more employees – firm or company-wide – and requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects.
Employers also have to:
- determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination, and maintain records and a roster of each employee’s vaccination status
- require employees to give “prompt notice” if they test positive for COVID-19
- remove COVID-19 positive employees from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status and not allow them to return until they meet required criteria
- ensure unvaccinated workers – including those who aren’t fully vaccinated – are tested at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within seven days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or more), and
- ensure “that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.”
Employers aren’t required to pay for testing or face coverings unless it’s required under “other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements or other collectively negotiated agreements.”