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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we review the status of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employers to mandate vaccines.

Employers Await White House Decision on OSHA ETS

Last week, OSHA sent to the White House its draft emergency temporary standard, which will require employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are vaccinated or provide a negative COVID test at least weekly. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will now review OSHA’s ETS, holding meetings with business groups, worker groups, and other interested parties. Meanwhile, further clarification has been released on the mandatory safety protocols and vaccination requirements federal contractors must implement.

Texas Governor Bans Vaccine Mandates

In direct response to the federal contractor mandate and pending ETS, Texas Governor Greg Abbott instituted an executive order prohibiting Texas employers from mandating vaccines for employees who object to becoming vaccinated due to “personal conscience,” including religious beliefs and medical reasons. Read more about the Texas order.

Health Plan Discounts OK for Vaccinated Employees

The U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury collectively published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) around health premium incentives for vaccines. The FAQs clarified that employers can give premium discounts or impose a surcharge on health plan participants based on their COVID-19 vaccination status. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took a similar position earlier this year.