Viewpoints from Craig Hasday
Frustrated by increasing infection and hospitalization rates, President Biden announced on Thursday evening new COVID-19 mandate requirements that will impact around 100 million Americans, including federal workers, contractors and healthcare providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid – and employees in the private sector.
Additionally, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will shortly be issuing a directive for all employers with at least 100 employees.
These employers must ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to produce a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week. The President estimated that the new employer rule would impact as many as 80 million or greater workers. Non-compliant employers will face fines of $14,000 per violation.
Last week, Delta Air Lines announced mandatory vaccines for its employees and since that became public, employers have been weighing its impact.
No doubt, following this announcement, many employers will follow Delta’s lead. However, it’s still too soon to tell whether there will be a backlash. Within hours of release, the Republican National Committee, which encourages the vaccine but not mandates, announced that they would be appealing the constitutionality of the order which has six focal points: vaccinating the 25% of unvaccinated workers; protecting the unvaccinated; keeping schools safely open by urging states to require that all schools follow his lead; expanding free testing and requiring masks where appropriate; protecting economic recovery and improving care for those with COVID-19.
This issue is developing rapidly and clearly, the debate will continue.
Human resources professionals are scrambling to find ways to comply with the COVID-19 protocols they have adopted and in response, EPIC has surveyed available resources and tracking products. Our Wellness & Health Management team can assist in helping to evaluate which solution fits each specific need. Please reach out to your account executive or for more information.
EPIC offers these opinions for general information only. EPIC does not intend this material to be, nor may any person receiving this information construe or rely on this material as, tax or legal advice. The matters addressed in this article and any related discussions or correspondence should be reviewed and discussed with legal counsel prior to acting or relying on these materials.
President, National Employee Benefits Practice