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Federal Vaccine Mandate Details Released, to be Published Friday

 November 4, 2021 | Cole Karr

The Biden Administration has announced two major, pending workplace vaccine requirements, which officials said will be published Friday.

According to a White House Fact Sheet, the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will both require employers to comply with the requirements by January 4, 2022. The deadline for federal employees and contractors to comply with previously announced vaccine mandates has been delayed from December 8 to match the OSHA and CMS deadlines of January 4.

While OSHA's rule will apply at the federal level to all private employers with 100 or more employees, public state and local agency employees in 22 states with OSHA-approved plans - including California, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming - would be required to adopt their own standards based on the federal requirements. States' rules could be the same or more stringent than the federal standard.

Under the OSHA ETS, impacted employers would need to:

  • Require employees to have both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or Johnson & Johnson's single-dose shot. Unvaccinated employees would be required to submit to weekly tests. The ETS will not require employers to pay for testing (unless other laws or union agreements dictate otherwise).
  • Provide paid leave for employees to get vaccinated and any time necessary to recover from post-vaccination symptoms. Employers will need to have policies in place allowing time off by December 5.
  • Require unvaccinated employees to wear masks. Employers may be allowed to pass along the costs of masks to the unvaccinated employees. Employers will need to have masking policies in place by December 5.
  • Comply with reporting requirements, which are available on an OSHA ETS guidance sheet.

The CMS rule will require all workers in healthcare settings participating in Medicare and/or Medicaid services to be vaccinated. The rule will not provide an option for weekly tests. Similar to OSHA's ETS, the CMS rule will require all clinical and non-clinical employees to be fully vaccinated by January 4. The Administration says the requirement will impact 76,000 healthcare facilities and 17 million of their workers.

In all cases, medical and religious exemptions will apply.

NSDC will share the publication of the OSHA ETS and CMS rule with Members when published. Contact Cole Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Coordinator, for questions.

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