OSHA Issues Emergency Standard Requiring Employee COVID-19 Vaccination or Undergo Weekly Testing
Thursday, OSHA released a final emergency temporary standard (ETS) that mandates employers with 100 or more employees to require workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or produce evidence of a negative covid-19 test once per week.
Employers are not responsible for the cost of vaccines or testing. Employers are required to provide up to 4 hours of paid leave for employees who receive their vaccination. The four hours cannot be deducted from any sick leave or vacation leave the employee may have accrued.
Employers are also required to provide up to two days off for employees who experience side effects of the vaccine. The two days off may be taken from an employee’s accrued leave. If an employee has no accrued leave, employers are not required to pay for leave due to vaccine side effects.
Furthermore, truck drivers who work alone, away from the workplace and outdoors are likely exempt from the vaccine and testing mandates.
EMA is seeking confirmation from OSHA on the exemption status of truck drivers.
The ETS is expected to cover 80 million private sector workers nationwide. Employers must develop a clearly written company policy for compliance with ETS detailing procedural requirements for employee vaccination or weekly testing and consequences for noncompliance.
The ETS is already facing numerous legal challenges in federal court which may delay implementation of its requirements.
The following Q&A explains the key provisions of the emergency standard that affect energy marketers with over 100 employees.