New OSHA and CMS Vaccination Rules Announced, Mean Two-Thirds of All Workers Now Covered by Vaccination Rules
On Thursday, November 4, 2021, the Biden Administration announced the details of two new major vaccination policies for employers and employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will require employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their employees is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will require health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated.
The OSHA rule requires employers with 100 or more employees (“covered employers”) to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. After that, all covered employers must ensure that any employees who are not fully vaccinated produce a verified negative test to their employer on at least a weekly basis. The OSHA rule does not require employers to pay for those tests, but employers may be required to pay for the tests under other laws or collective bargaining agreements. Also under the OSHA rule, unvaccinated employees must wear a face mask while in the workplace, and covered employers are required to provide paid-time for their employees to get vaccinated. Covered employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping detailed here. While the testing requirement for unvaccinated employees begins January 4, employers must be in compliance with all other requirements, such as providing paid-time off for vaccinations and ensuring unvaccinated employees are masked, on December 5, 2021.
The CMS rule requires workers at health care facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. The rule covers around 76,000 facilities and more than 17 million health care workers. The rule applies to employees regardless of whether their positions are clinical or non-clinical. It also includes students, trainees, and volunteers who work at covered facilities and individuals who provide treatment or other services for the facility under contract or other arrangement. The vaccine is required under the CMS rule – there is no testing in lieu of the vaccination option like the OSHA rule.
The full White House announcement of these rules is found here. For questions related to these rules and other COVID-19 employment rules and questions, the employment attorneys are Martin Pringle are ready to help.