On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced new COVID-19 vaccine mandates requiring all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly.

In addition, the vaccine mandate builds on the President’s announcement in July requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated. The President also signed an executive order extending mandatory vaccinations to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.

Further, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring vaccinations for health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings.

The mandate requires all employers to provide their employees with paid time off to get vaccinated. Additionally, employers will have to review requests for accommodations from employees requesting an exemption from being vaccinated for medical reasons or for sincerely held religious beliefs. Unvaccinated employees will have to be tested weekly. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement these requirements and enforce them moving forward.

Impacted employers are encouraged to review and update existing policies and procedures, and implement any required policies and procedures, to ensure compliance with their obligations under the ETS. We will keep you informed of further developments, including the ETS’s effective date. In the meantime, Murtha Cullina’s attorneys are prepared to provide guidance on these and related issues.