President Joe Biden announced Thursday, Sept. 9, that in the coming weeks, companies with 100 or more employees will be required to ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week. Additionally, employers must provide employees time off to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki previewed the forthcoming requirements in her briefing to the press on Thursday. President Biden further outlined these measures in his speech later in the afternoon.
The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked with developing an emergency temporary standard, which will apply to more than 80 million private-sector workers. The emergency temporary standard will go through an expedited review process and be published in the coming weeks. The rule will go into effect shortly thereafter, with OSHA having the ability to fine businesses up to $14,000 per violation.
This announcement comes among many other COVID-fighting measures announced Thursday by President Biden, which also include requirements that all executive branch employees and federal contractors get vaccinated; that employees of health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding be completely vaccinated; that employees in Head Start programs be completely vaccinated; steeper fines for violating COVID requirements while traveling; and measures to provide additional testing and vaccination resources.
This situation is evolving quickly and the standard will likely present new challenges for affected employers.