• Title

  • Indiana Chamber: OSHA Vaccine Mandate Rule Final: Effective Early January

    November 4, 2021
    SPECIAL REPORT
    OSHA Vaccine Mandate Rule Final: Effective Early January But Some Compliance Needed by December 5
    NOTE: Indiana Chamber, Wellness Council of Indiana to Host Webinar Next Week

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 vaccine rule mandate for employers with 100 or more employees is now final. The White House released a fact sheet this morning (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/11/04/fact-sheet-biden-administration-announces-details-of-two-major-vaccination-policies/). The good news is that some of the most pressing concerns by the business community were favorably addressed.

    The overall rule takes effect January 4. The Biden administration had been under pressure from business and industry groups to wait until after the holidays for implementation given the employee shortages many retailers, in particular, are facing.

    However, December 5 is also a key date for some compliance. That’s when employers are required to: 1) start paying paid time off for employees to get vaccinated; and 2) start supplying masks for unvaccinated workers.

    We will host a webinar November 11 from 10-11:30 a.m. EST for you to ask questions and receive further guidance. The Indiana Chamber’s Wellness Council of Indiana is currently finalizing the webinar, which will be presented by legal counsel and cover all the details of the OHSA rule and getting in compliance. We encourage all impacted employers to join us live or watch the session on replay. The webinar is free for Indiana Chamber and Wellness Council of Indiana members. Register at http://secure.indianachamber.com/personifyebusiness/Events/ICOCEventsCalendar/MeetingDetails.aspx?ProductId=218014533.

    All the key details of the final rule:
    • Employers are not required to pay for testing for employees who choose not to get the vaccine. Indiana Chamber and employer groups across the country felt that should fall to the employees since the vaccines themselves are widely available and free. The Biden administration agreed.
    • Employers must pay employees for the time taken to get vaccinated and, if needed, sick time to recover from any side effects they experience.
    • Employers must ensure all unvaccinated employees are masked while in the workplace.
    • Employers must remove anyone from the workplace who tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider.
    • Employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping that are spelled out in these detailed OSHA materials at https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA4162.pdf.
    • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is requiring workers at health care facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid to be fully vaccinated by January 4. The testing option is not available for this group of workers.
    OSHA officials are saying they will assist employers in developing their vaccine and testing standards, so it appears additional guidance is forthcoming.
    Fines for employers who willfully fail to comply with the rule could be as high as $14,000 per violation – and multiple fines per business.

    Again, we encourage you to register for the webinar on November 11.

    In the meantime, please reach out with questions to Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of our Wellness Council of Indiana at (317) 264-2168 / jpferrer@indianachamber.com, or Mike Ripley, the Chamber’s vice president of employment law and health care policy, at (317) 264-6883 / mripley@indianachamber.com.