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Time for Everyone to Roll Up Their Sleeves

November 5, 2021

By: Heidi C. Quan

Large employers will need to roll up their sleeves to implement vaccination policies while employees roll up theirs to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing and mask mandates.

As part of its COVID-19 plan, the Biden Administration rolled out vaccine mandates for large employers (100+ employees) to ensure that their workers are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or require unvaccinated employees to undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering at the workplace or in a car with another person for work purposes. This requirement takes effect on January 4, 2022, while other requirements take effect in 30 days.

5 Big Take-Aways:

  1. Employers do NOT need to pay for testing (unless otherwise required to do so under other laws, regulations, or collective bargaining agreements). However, they must allow employees a reasonable amount of paid time off to get vaccinated and provide paid sick leave to recover from any side effects.
     
  2. Unvaccinated employees must be tested within 7 days before returning to work if they have been away from the workplace for a week or longer.
     
  3. Employers must obtain vaccination status and acceptable proof of vaccination from all employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee's vaccination status.
     
  4. Specific information must be provided to employees about these new requirements, vaccinations, protection against retaliation and discrimination, and information about knowingly supplying false statements or documentation.
     
  5. The new mandates do not apply to employees who work alone or in a workplace where coworkers or customers are not present, employees working from home, or employees who work exclusively outdoors.

There are also a number of other requirements employers must follow regarding handling positive test notifications, OSHA reporting requirements, and making certain vaccination data and documentation available upon request.

Companies that fail to comply may be subject to fines with the amount depending on how frequently the violation and whether they were intentional. Employers who violate the rule can face fines of up to $13,653 per violation for every serious violation.