President Biden Announces Vaccine Mandate for Many Employers

by Elaine Howard, Shareholder
Andrews Myers | Attorneys at Law

President Biden announced Friday that he has directed the Department of Labor to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 once a week. No Executive Order or other rule has been issued at this time to discuss the time frame, requirements, or potential fines for failing to do so. The White House’s website reflects only the following:

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees.

It is expected that the rule promulgated by OSHA will allow employees to request exemptions based on good faith religious or medical reasons.

In the same speech, President Biden issued an Executive Order requiring that all federal employees be vaccinated. He has directed the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) to implement rules within seven days.

He issued a second Executive Order that requires all federal contractors to follow the guidelines promulgated by the Task Force. The Task Force has been directed to issue guidelines for federal contractors by September 24. Included in this Executive Order are requirements regarding terms to ensure that these guidelines flow down to subcontractors in any federal contract.