Many employers will have to ensure by early 2022 that their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for Covid-19 under a set of new vaccine requirements by the Biden administration that will cover more than 80 million employees. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the requirements released Thursday by the Labor Department implement a vaccine directive that President Biden announced in September.
The new rules take effect Jan. 4 and apply to employers with 100 or more employees. Companies subject to the rules must ensure that employees who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19 produce a negative test at least weekly and wear a mask in the workplace. Employers aren’t required under the new policy to provide or pay for tests, with potential exceptions if collective bargaining agreements compel them to do so.
Employers who don’t adhere to the requirements could face penalties of up to around $13,600 per violation. Employers subject to the new rules must require each vaccinated worker to provide proof of vaccination status, federal officials said. When documentation can’t be obtained, a signed and dated statement from the employee attesting to his or her vaccination status is permitted.
The OSHA rules require those employers to provide paid time off to workers so they can receive the Covid-19 vaccine, as well as sick leave to recover from any side effects, and to ensure that unvaccinated employees wear a face mask while in the workplace by Dec. 5