This week, President Biden announced an expansive six-part coronavirus plan which mandates shots for over 100 million Americans. The plan is aimed at health care workers, federal contractors, federal workers, and even private sector employees.
So, what does this mean for you?
Private employers with fewer than 100 employees: Currently, the mandate doesn’t apply to employers with fewer than 100 employees, unless they’re federal contractors or get funding from Medicare or Medicaid. It’s possible that the mandate eventually will be expanded to cover smaller employers and different sectors.
Private employers with 100 or more employees: Biden’s plan requires all businesses with more than 100 employees to either (1) make sure all their workers are fully vaccinated or (2) require unvaccinated employees to be tested at least once a week. Failure to take one of these actions could result in penalties of $14,000 per violation. OSHA is developing a rule requiring employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated or recover from side effects. This rule already is in effect in New York, so no real change there.
Questions that remain: While the government contractor mandate has a 75-day grace period, there’s no grace period for 100+ employers, and so it appears this rule is effective immediately.
What should 100+ workforces do? Ensure your people are vaccinated immediately. Give them time off to get the vaccine. If they’re not vaccinated, implement a program of weekly testing right away. There are free testing options that are widely available. Ensure you have proof of testing from each non-vaccinated employee and take care to keep this medical information highly confidential.
These are unsettled times for sure. Have a question about the vaccine mandate, whether it applies to your business, or if you should put a plan in place? Our staff at The Coppola Firm is happy to help you navigate through your obligations.