Vaccination Mandates and Testing / Follow-up
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put on hold the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. employers with 100 employees or more, after being told by a court last week that it must do so.
Allison Ebner, Director of Member Services with Employers Association of the NorthEast, joined Bill Nagle, CCUA’s Senior Vice President, Professional Development, for a discussion on what the hold means to credit unions and their employees.
OSHA had originally given employers with more than 100 employees a Jan. 4 deadline to comply with Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Fines for willfully failing to comply with the mandate could reach as much as $14,000 per violation, with the potential for multiple citations per business.
The numerous legal challenges to the Rule have been consolidated and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation conducted a lottery on November 16, to select which U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal would hear the combined challenges. The Sixth Circuit was randomly selected “from a drum containing an entry for each circuit wherein a constituent petition for review is pending.”
While the future of the Rule remains uncertain due to the pending legal challenges, we do know the Rule has not been repealed, it has merely been suspended pending resolution in the courts. Therefore, employers should continue preparations to comply with the Rule because, if the Rule is revived, the current deadlines issued by OSHA could remain in effect.
Ebner outlined the following next steps and options for employers:
- Assess your workforce – determine vaccination status of all employees (you are allowed to ask!)
- Determine your policy options on executive level
- do nothing
- education campaign – perhaps incentivize vaccinations
- impose mandate - health and wellness perspective
- Draft written policies on mandatory vaccine, weekly testing, and mask mandates
- Evaluate logistics for obtaining and tracking weekly test results
- Be prepared for implementation, if and when the Rule goes into effect.