How do I deal with the OSHA Federal Vaccine compliance?

Amanda asked 3 weeks ago
1 Answer
Rachel replied 3 weeks ago
Hi Amanda!

OSHA, which is the occupational health and safety administration. That's the division of the government that helps make sure that workplaces are safe, has issued an emergency temporary standard, which was announced on Thursday, November 4th. It was challenged in courts almost immediately. There's currently an order from the fifth circuit court of appeals in New Orleans to block the implementation of these rules while it undergoes legal challenges.

Despite this order, it's still very possible that these guidelines are going to go into effect as originally published. So, what does that mean for us?

Here are some things to think about:

1. The vaccine mandate is kind of a misnomer. The government isn't actually requiring anyone to get vaccinated as part of the standard. It's leaving that decision up to employers.

2. This is really chasing after private-sector employers with a hundred or more US-based employees, public sector workplaces, federal contractors, some of those engaged in the healthcare industry may already be covered by more stringent and separate standards.

Also, employees who work for a covered employer, but do not report to a workplace with others or who worked from home or who work exclusively outdoors, aren't necessarily covered by all of the details of this particular standard.

3. Employees must notify their employer of a positive test, meaning if I test positive for COVID, I've got to let my employer know. And then the employers get to track that.

4. Employers will also want to start thinking about whether they want to issue a full vaccine requirement for their employees or a partial vaccine requirement or no vaccine requirement. There are different ramifications of each. In a full vaccine requirement that would mean employees essentially need to get vaccinated or could potentially lose their jobs. In a partial vaccine requirement, employers could choose to have some groups of employees required to be vaccinated and other groups not.

And then in a non vaccination requirement policy, employers could essentially not require employees to get the vaccine, but any employees who aren't vaccinated under these requirements essentially would need to go through the weekly testing and wear a mask.

There are, of course, many other aspects to consider.

If you'd like more details on this topic, you can watch our podcast episode here with VP of People Operations Danny Speros.