President Joe Biden announced the US Department of Labor will develop an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to either ensure their workforces are vaccinated against Covid-19 or that employees show a negative Covid test at least weekly.
How the policy will affect contingent workforces is still unknown. However, some speculation suggests that demand for contingent workers could increase if temporary staff is exempt from the rule and if employees choose to leave larger companies rather than comply with the regulation.
In addition, The National Law Review reported that the 100-employee trigger for coverage of the Emergency Temporary Standard will apply on a companywide basis, rather than on the number of employees at a particular site, according to Ann Rosenthal, senior advisor at OSHA. She said that OSHA encourages smaller employers to follow CDC guidance. She also noted that US Postal Service employees will be subject to the ETS.
Biden’s plan, announced Sept. 9, will affect about 100 million workers — or two-thirds of the US workforce — and firms will be required to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated.
“The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” Biden said. “We’re going to reduce the spread of Covid-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”
He noted that several companies already require this, including United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods and Fox News.
Biden also announced that vaccinations will be required for those who work in hospitals, home healthcare or other medical facilities — which account for a total of 17 million healthcare workers. And he is issuing executive orders requiring all executive branch federal employees and federal contractors to be vaccinated.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, called the mandates a government overreach.
“President Biden’s dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good. How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined?” Ducey said in a statement. “The Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective tools to prevent the disease, but getting the vaccine is and should be a choice. These mandates are outrageous. They will never stand up in court. We must and will push back.”
Crain’s Detroit Business reported companies could face fines of nearly $14,000 per violation.