Labor & HR Committee Update | Vaccine Mandate, HERO Act FAQ’s
Below you will find information regarding new developments in human resource management. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like any additional information or if you would like to discuss potential impacts and compliance strategies. I can be reached on the HR Line 800-332-2117 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Biden’s Vaccine Mandate – What Happens Next?
Last evening, President Biden announced a six-prong national strategy to combat the COVID-19 virus. Several of the initiatives will impact employers. Primarily, the new mandates for employers will come from OSHA through an anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that could become effective immediately upon publication in the National Register. It is unclear when that publication would occur, though US DOL sources indicate it could take “weeks.” The strategy includes:
Requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly – OSHA will be using the ETS to require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an ETS to implement this requirement. It is unclear who will bear the cost of weekly testing. Media reports suggest fines of up to $14,000 for employers violating the ETS.
Requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide paid time off to get vaccinated – OSHA will also use the ETS to require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated and/or to recover if they are under the weather post-vaccination.
Requiring vaccinations for workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings – the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies. This action builds on the vaccination requirement for nursing facilities recently announced by CMS and will apply to nursing home staff as well as staff in hospitals and other CMS-regulated settings, including clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care.
Requiring vaccinations for federal workers and for contractors doing business with the federal government – the President has signed an Executive Order to take those actions a step further and require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated. The President also signed an Executive Order directing that this standard be extended to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government.
In addition, the President announced plans to strengthening the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and to streamline the PPP loan forgiveness process. As more information becomes available will let you know.
HERO Act FAQ’s Published
Yesterday, the Department of Labor published HERO Act Information and FAQ’s on the DOL’s HERO Act website. Employers should familiarize themselves with the information as they review, finalize and publish their HERO Act airborne infectious disease plan as the result of the Commissioner of Health’s designation of COVID as a public health threat. Please contact me with any questions regarding activation of your plan.