President Biden Announces New Vaccine Mandate for Businesses: OSHA is asked to use “Emergency Temporary Standard” authority to expedite process

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) must promulgate a rule mandating all employers with 100 or more employees to either require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine or produce a weekly negative test result before reporting to work.   This announcement is part of a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy for the continued fight against COVID-19.

To date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that COVID-19 has taken more than 600,000 American lives and infected more than 40,000,000 people throughout the United States.  These statistics, combined with continued vaccine hesitancy and the persistence of the highly contagious Delta Variant, have lead to the conclusion that the situation among American workers is grave.  Therefore, OSHA will use its authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the express purpose of getting more Americans vaccinated.

This is not the first time that the Biden Administration has called upon OSHA’s accelerated rule making authority, having issued ETS for healthcare facilities last June. However, the Biden proclamation is not without its challenges.  President Biden has promised a science-based approach intended to ensure all available tools are being used to save lives, protect the economy, and keep schools open.  The White House insists that the measure is necessary because past initiatives and policies have not been successful enough; with nearly 80,000,000 Americans remaining unvaccinated.  Yet, some argue that the use of regulatory powers to bypass a public notice and comment period is an act of egregious government overreach.

Upon publication in the Federal Register, it is likely that formal legal challenges will arise and whether the new ETS survives scrutiny remains to be seen.  Campanella Law Office will continue to monitor the anticipated rules and provide information on President Biden’s new COVID-19 plan as it progresses.  Meanwhile, if you have specific questions related to your business or employment, Contact Us.

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