In an address to the nation on September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced significant COVID-19 vaccine requirements. The new requirements will affect roughly 100 million Americans or approximately two-thirds of all U.S. employees. While further guidance is on the horizon, here is what we know right now:
- The expansive rules announced on Thursday mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting roughly 80 million Americans.
- The roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also have to be fully vaccinated.
- President Biden also ordered that all federal employees and employees of government contractors be vaccinated. Federal employees and government contractors will not have the option of utilizing weekly testing in place of vaccination.
President Biden has instructed the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”). At the same time, it works to develop and finalize the vaccine mandate on large companies. According to a senior administration official, this requirement that all employers with more than 100 workers mandate vaccinations and/or testing could carry a $14,000.00 fine per violation.
Additional guidance should be available from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force by September 24, 2021. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall publish such guidance in the Federal Register. Further guidance should be available by October 8, 2021, from the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council. Further, agencies are expected to take steps to guide contracts and contract-like instruments that are not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation by October 8, 2021.
We will continue to monitor all of the current developments of this matter and advise our clients regarding the actions needed. We also expect there will be a significant amount of litigation over these requirements in the coming months.
Please feel free to reach out to Matthew Stokely, our Certified Labor, and Employment Law Specialist, with any questions or concerns. Matt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937.223.1130.