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Everything We Know About the Vaccine Mandate— and What It Means for HR

Posted by Alexa Rivera on Sep 13, 2021 3:10:20 PM
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vaccine mandate and employees

Biden’s new vaccine plan announced on Thursday, September 9th, has come out of left field for many Americans, leaving several questions about what this mandate will mean for our workforce. Employers and employees alike are feeling every emotion from fear and outrage, to hope and relief given the sensitive news. While the information we’ve received is very little so far, here is everything we know about the Vaccine Plan and how it will affect businesses and HR departments when the time comes to enforce these policies.

All private-sector businesses with 100+ employees will be required to be fully vaccinated.

This emergency rule inflicted by the labor department will affect an estimated 2/3 of the workforce. It will come with the requirement of employers to provide paid time off for employees to receive their vaccinations or to recover from any symptoms experienced. In addition, those who refuse the vaccine will be required to test negative for COVID-19 weekly.

The proposed plan is awaiting approval from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The formal issue will be known as an “emergency temporary standard” which means it will go into effect immediately and will remain until superseded by a permanent standard. A $14,000 penalty could be applied to companies who demonstrate a lack of compliance.

Many major companies have already required this.

For safety precautions among a number of other reasons, many large corporations have already had this rule in place on a corporate level. According to President Biden, some of these companies include United Airlines, Disney, Tyson, and Fox News.

This decision has come as part of a six-step plan to battle the COVID-19 delta variant.

The new COVID variant has led to a rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the last several months. The six steps include: Vaccinating the unvaccinated, further protecting those unvaccinated and at risk, keeping schools safely open, increasing mask mandates and regular testing, protecting our economy from downturn, and finally improving care for those diagnosed with COVID-19.

So what does this mean for CEOs and HR Departments?

Many companies are expecting quite a bit of push back from employees against federal intervention, which will require some preparation and careful navigation between employees and leaders in the space. We will also have to consider medical and religious exemptions that will come about and what legal standards will deem acceptable in the realm.

Another concern seems to be of who will be paying for the weekly testing required by the mandate, assuming vaccination is either not possible or excused for select employees? Will this be handed off to insurance, employees, or employers? That is some serious food for thought.

One thing is for certain, “the order is going to be onerous for employers who have a lot of employees, or don’t have a competent and well-staffed HR function”. Surely there will be more to come on the nuances of this emergency mandate order. We know we will be active participants of the conversation as we hope you will too.

We at PeopleGuru challenge you to consider the state of your HR departments or systems and whether they are equipped for these large-scale changes to come.

Comment below to share how you plan to enforce and manage this emergency vaccine mandate in your organization.

This post was written by Alexa Rivera, Marketing Assistant at PeopleGuru, and may not be copied or published without PeopleGuru’s express written permission.

Topics: Compliance, Now Trending, Employee Rights, HR

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