Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked with issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) and to answer key questions regarding President Biden’s recent mandate requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing. Until the ETS is issued, employers can start preparing based on the following information;
· Nonexempt employees must be paid for time spent undergoing testing during the workday, even if the time is on their day off
· Employees may receive paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from any side effects
· Employers will need to consider the costs associated with confirming negative test results for unvaccinated employees
· While insurance may cover the cost of tests, several states have laws predating COVID-19 requiring employers to pay for mandatory medical tests or reimburse employees for any such testing
Several large employers have already informed employees that proof of vaccine will be a requirement of employment unless the employee has a medical or religious reason. However, many employers are waiting until OSHA issues the ETS, which could be issued in the next 30-60 days, to understand their responsibilities.