by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Senior Compliance Consultant, Matrix Absence Management
& Lana L. Rupprecht, Esq. - Director, Product Compliance
November 05, 2021
OSHA’s long-awaited Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) for private employers with 100 or more employees has arrived. The ETS, which can be found at Federal Register: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard, requires the full vaccination (or the beginning of weekly testing) of covered employees by January 4, 2022.
Here are noteworthy points about the ETS:
- Employers must determine, obtain proof, and maintain records of the vaccination status of their employees.
- Employers must establish a mandatory vaccination policy OR an alternative policy requiring regular testing where unvaccinated employees submit to COVID-19 testing at least every 7 days and wear face coverings in the workplace.
- Employers with a mandatory vaccination policy must require all current and new employees to be fully vaccinated –i.e., two weeks after receiving both shots of a two-dose vaccination or one dose for a single-dose vaccine.
- Effective dates: Employees must be fully vaccinated and/or the employer must implement weekly testing by January 4, 2022. Other requirements such as implementing the mandatory policies in compliance with the ETS and masking and temporary removal of COVID-positive employees from the workplace are effective December 6, 2021.
- Employees do not need to be vaccinated if:
- Medical necessity requires a delay in getting a vaccination;
- A vaccine is medically contraindicated (i.e. severe allergic reaction) (See Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC);
- They are entitled to a reasonable accommodation due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief.
- For vaccinations, employers must provide reasonable paid time for each primary vaccination dose (up to 4 hours per dose) and paid sick leave for recovery time due to side effects associated with the vaccination.
- There is no requirement for employers to pay the cost of employee testing.
- Employees who work from their home, from a location with no other customers or coworkers present, or exclusively outdoors are exempt from the ETS.
- Unvaccinated employees who have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19 must still meet the mandatory vaccination or weekly testing requirements.
- Employees who test positive or are diagnosed for COVID-19 – whether previously vaccinated or not – must promptly notify their employer and employers must exclude them from the workplace regardless of vaccination status.
Here is a summary of the standard from OSHA.
An excellent summary is also available on this blog: OSHA’s Vax-or-Test ETS: What Employers Need to Know - Labor & Employment Report (laboremploymentreport.com)
And our buddy Jeff Nowak’s blog specifically takes on the leave of absence requirements of the ETS here: Under the ETS, What Paid Leave Must an Employer Provide an Employee to Obtain a COVID-19 Vaccine or Test? - FMLA Insights
Below are FAQs, summaries and additional compliance materials on the ETS.
Matrix Can Help!
Matrix offers ADA and vaccine exemption services for its clients. For more information about our solutions, please contact your Matrix or Reliance Standard account manager, or reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.