The Biden Administration recently announced details of two policies to fight COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) which will cover 84 million employees and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health and Human Services requirement for health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid which applies to more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.
OSHA’s (ETS) requires employers with 100 or more employees to:
1) Get Their Employees Vaccinated by January 4th and Require Unvaccinated Employees to Produce a Negative Test on at Least a Weekly Basis:
All covered employers must ensure that their employees have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. After that, all covered employers must ensure that any employees who have not received the necessary shots begin producing a verified negative test to their employer on at least a weekly basis, and they must remove from the workplace any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test or is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider. The ETS does not require employers to provide or pay for tests. Employers may be required to pay for testing because of other laws or collective bargaining agreements.
2) Pay Employees for the Time it Takes to Get Vaccinated:
All covered employers are required to provide paid-time for their employees to get vaccinated and, if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects experienced that keep them from working.
3) Ensure All Unvaccinated Employees are Masked:
All covered employers must ensure that unvaccinated employees wear a face mask while in the workplace.
4) Other Requirements and Compliance Date:
Employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping that are spelled out in the detailed OSHA materials available here. While the testing requirement for unvaccinated workers will begin after January 4th, employers must be in compliance with all other requirements – such as providing paid-time for employees to get vaccinated and masking for unvaccinated workers – on December 5th. The Administration is calling on all employers to step up and make these changes as quickly as possible.
Health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are fully vaccinated. Employees regardless of whether their positions are clinical or non-clinical and includes employees, students, trainees, and volunteers who work at a covered facility that receives federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid. It also includes individuals who provide treatment or other services for the facility under contract or other arrangements. Among the facility types covered by the rule are hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dialysis facilities, home health agencies, and long-term care facilities.
The deadline for workers to receive their final vaccination dose will be the same for the OSHA and CMS rule, January 4, 2022.
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