COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing: Emergency Temporary Standard
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a new emergency temporary standard to protect more than 84 million workers from the spread of the coronavirus on the job.
Under this emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) employers with more than 100 employees (firm or company-wide) must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
The ETS requires employers to do the following:
- Determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
- Require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status; employers must not allow them to return to work until they meet required criteria.
- Ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer).
- Ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.
The ETS does not require employers to pay for testing. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings. The ETS does require employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and to allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects.
Employers must comply with most requirements within 30 days and with testing requirements within 60 days from November 5, 2021.