In his press conference on September 9, 2021, President Biden laid out his six-pronged approach to fighting the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta Variant. Many aspects of his plan apply to employers:
- In addition to the OSHA emergency rulemaking requiring employers with 100 employees or more to get them vaccinated, that rule will also require employers to provide paid sick leave for time off to get vaccinated.
- A new Executive Order requires federal workers, government contractors, and their employees to be vaccinated. Previously he was allowing testing as an alternative, and under this new Order, that is not the case.
- Biden has instructed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to require COVID-19 vaccinations for health-care workers whose employers receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. This includes not only hospitals and other health-care facilities, but home health agencies as well.
- The Administration will be providing free booster shots at an estimated 80,000 clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices.
- As it says on the White House website (linked above), “Building on the President’s announcement in July to strengthen safety requirements for unvaccinated federal workers, the President has signed an Executive Order to take those actions a step further and require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated.”
- There are also requirements that teachers and staff at Head Start and Early Head Start programs, teachers and child and youth program personnel at the Department of Defense (DOD), and teachers and staff at Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools get vaccinated. The President has instructed the pertinent departments to initiate rulemaking and implementation.
We are expecting more guidance and the actual written rules to be published in the near future and we will update you as we have more information. In the meantime, Employers Council staff can help with questions about these new orders and requirements.