Advocacy News – October 14, 2021
As early as next week, the Biden Administration could finalize the requirement that companies must ensure full vaccination status or weekly COVID-19 testing for workers.
On Tuesday, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provided to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) a draft proposal of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) necessary to implement the vaccination and testing requirements. How long the ETS will remain at OIRA is unknown, but it is fully expected to be cleared quickly, allowing the ETS to be finalized in short order.
Once published in the Federal Register, the requirements outlined in the ETS are automatically implemented and open for public comment.
Under the OSHA statute, the ETS will remain in place for six months. OSHA can then replace it with a permanent standard reflecting any received comments during the comment period or discontinue the standard. OSHA already issued an ETS in June of this year, covering workplaces in the health care industry and requiring certain practices to protect employees from COVID-19 exposure. That ETS is set to expire in late December.
Questions remain over how the requirement will be enforced, considering the expected legal challenges and other details. Employers and employees are still questioning how much time they will be allotted to prepare for implementation of the requirements.
As an ETS can be extended through a permanent standard, it also remains unclear as to how long businesses will be required to maintain full compliance. The recent Executive Order requiring full vaccination status of nearly all federal contractors went into effect on Sept. 24 with a Dec. 8 deadline.
We will provide more details as soon as they are available. Please contact Wendy Block with any questions at email@example.com.