On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a series of proposals to combat the uptick in the COVID-19 pandemic more aggressively. The Plan outlines six main components, some of which will impose new requirements on employers. Included is a plan for “Vaccinating the Unvaccinated,” a rule that will require private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated (subject to medical and religious exemptions) or undergo weekly testing. The new rule will also require vaccination for most federal employees, federal contractors’ employees and most healthcare workers, without a testing option. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement these rules.
Employers will also be required to provide paid time off for employees to be vaccinated or recuperate from any vaccine-related adverse effects. Employers who fail to comply with the vaccination mandate or the need for paid time off face penalties of up to $14,000 per violation.
While these proposals will have significant impacts – particularly on employers – there are a number of unknowns. In particular, it is unclear whether employers or employees will be responsible for paying for the weekly testing required for employees who cannot be vaccinated. The parameters of the paid time off is similarly unclear.
In addition to reducing the number of unvaccinated through employer mandates, the proposals also include:
- Preparation to roll out booster shots in two weeks;
- Pressure for states to adopt vaccination requirements for all school employees;
- Strengthening the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides long-term, low-cost loans, and is estimated to help 150,000 small businesses; and
- Streamlining the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness for small loans.
Formal regulations are expected to be issued in the coming weeks. Carmody will continue monitoring these developments.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about President Biden’s proposals, complying with the requirements or would like more information about mandating vaccination, please contact a member of the Labor & Employment group.
This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.