The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has unveiled the details of its new rule that will require large employers to either have a vaccination mandate or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers. Large companies have until January 4th to ensure that their workforces are fully vaccinated under the new guidelines. This is expected to cover about 84 million private sector workers (many of whom are already vaccinated).
According to the new requirements, workers are considered fully vaccinated if they’ve received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Employers must provide paid time off so employees can get vaccinated as well as sick leave to cover any side effects from the vaccine. Employers are neither required to pay for nor provide tests (though some may be required to via previous laws or agreements).
Companies that fail to comply with the rule may be subject to fines, depending on how frequently they violate it and whether violations are intentional. The typical serious OSHA violation is a bit over $13,000. The purpose of delaying implementation to January is to ensure that retailers and logistics providers, already strapped for workers, can get through the holiday shopping season.
- Is the count based on 100 employees for the entire business or per individual location?
- The count should be done at the employer level (firm- or corporate-wide), not the individual location level. Therefore, for a single corporate entity with multiple locations, all employees at all locations are counted. For example, if a single corporation has 50 small locations (kiosks, concession stands) with at least 100 total employees in its combined locations, that employer would be covered even if some of the locations have no more than one or two employees assigned to work there.
- Are part time employees included in the 100-employee threshold?
- Are independent contractors included in the 100-employee threshold?
- Do employees working from home count towards the 100 employee minimum?
- Yes. If an employer has 150 employees, 100 of whom work from their homes full-time and 50 of whom work in the office at least part of the time, the employer would be within the scope of this ETS because it has more than 100 employees. However, the standard’s requirements would only apply to the 50 employees who work in the office at least part time around other individuals, and not to those 100 employees working exclusively from their homes.