Here’s How the Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate Could Affect Your Business
On September 9, President Biden announced several initiatives to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and combat the ever-increasing threat of the Delta variant of the virus. The initiatives could affect as many as 100 million workers, and there are nearly 80 million eligible Americans who have not yet gotten their first shot.
Let’s take a look at some of the initiatives that may impact workers, and explore how the new mandates could affect your business.
Vaccine Requirements for Federal Employees
In an executive order issued September 9, President Biden outlined vaccine requirements for all federal employees and covered federal contractor employees. The order was established to “decrease worker absence, reduce labor costs, and improve the efficiency of contractors and subcontractors at sites where they are performing work for the Federal Government.”
Federal employees, including remote workers, will need to be fully vaccinated by November 22.
Rules Regarding Health Care Workers
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities, including hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.
Vaccine Mandate for Businesses with 100 or More Employees
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated.
This requirement could impact more than 80 million workers in private sector businesses.
As part of the rule, workers who remain unvaccinated will have to provide a negative test result weekly before coming to work. In addition, covered employees who either have contracted COVID-19 or may be contagious with the virus will have to work remotely, be separated from other workers where possible, or be provided with paid time off (up to $1,400 per week).
OSHA would create an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to enact this mandate. As part of the ETS, covered employers would have to provide their employees with paid time off to get vaccinated — and to recover from potential side effects from getting the shot.
Businesses Have Decisions to Make
Businesses who need to comply with the administration’s vaccine mandate, or want to implement a vaccine standard of their own, have big decisions to make.
Several large companies, including Amtrak, Goldman Sachs, Cisco and United Airlines, have already rolled out vaccine mandates of their own. In his COVID-19 action plan, President Biden praised Tyson Foods as a positive example, as half of Tyson’s unvaccinated workers have now received a shot ahead of the company’s November 1 deadline.
But what about smaller businesses that don’t have the resources of an Amtrak or Cisco? They’ll have to consider the financial ramifications of tracking vaccination status, paid time off for testing and getting the shot, etc. Companies will need to spend time and resources developing policies and procedures to ensure the vaccine mandate is correctly and efficiently implemented. And, they will need systems in place to enable and track weekly testing for individuals who are exempt from the vaccine mandate.
Perhaps most importantly, companies must consider the impact a vaccine mandate could have on their ability to hire workers. Those who are not vaccinated may decide to find work at places that don’t require vaccination. After all, workers have more options available to them during a labor shortage.
If you’re struggling to find the talent you need, Wonolo can help.
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About the Author
Lori Macias, Chief Revenue Office at Wonolo. Lori has over 15 years of experience in sales, operation, and customer success. Lori is considered a thought leader because of her knowledge and ability to use data to drive insights on industries and business trends. To learn more about Lori and her work at Wonolo check out Wonolo’s blog or find her on LinkedIn.