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As part of an extensive, six-pronged strategy announced Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, the Biden Administration has directed OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that will require employers with more than 100 employees to require those individuals who come into a workplace or work site to be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
While the rate of vaccinations has increased around the U.S., in announcing the plan, the White House noted that nearly 80 million Americans eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet gotten their first shot. It is expected that the plan will require employers to provide paid time off for vaccination and any recovery time that may be required, similar to the requirements included in the current ETS for healthcare.
In a briefing on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, OSHA officials said they are working expeditiously to issue the standard in the coming weeks but did not provide a specific timeline. They said they are working to align the new ETS with the healthcare ETS and that it will not apply to fully remote workers. Key details, such as how vaccination will be verified, are being finalized as the agency develops the standard. It is expected that the standard will not address how employers implement or enforce their specific vaccination policies.
“President Biden’s plan to continue to combat COVID-19 this fall is comprehensive, science-based and relies on the power of the federal government working hand-in-hand with states, local communities, the private sector and all Americans to put this pandemic behind us,” the White House said.