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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Unveils Rule to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for Large Employers

November 4, 2021

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) yesterday issued a rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.

The rule, an emergency temporary standard (ETS) also requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and to allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects.

The ETS is effective immediately upon its publication in the Federal Register on Nov. 5. Employers must comply with most requirements within 30 days of publication and with testing requirements within 60 days of publication. No exemptions were included for natural immunity.

Utah Republican leaders are considering taking steps in a special session this month to counter the federal mandate, reports Deseret News. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has been a vocal opponent of the mandate, believing it is the jurisdiction of states.

OSHA is seeking comment on all aspects of the ETS and whether the agency should adopt it as a final standard. Also, OSHA said it is “soliciting stakeholder comment and additional information to determine whether to adjust the scope of the ETS,” or emergency standard, “to address smaller employers in the future.”

The rule is already triggering legal action. Gov. Ron DeSantis said yesterday that Florida will join Georgia, Alabama and private plaintiffs in filing a legal challenge to the rule.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has also issued a new regulation requiring that healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are fully vaccinated. There are no testing options for “eligible staff” under this rule.

CMS on Thursday issued a  that requires COVID-19 vaccination of “eligible staff” at health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Facilities covered by this regulation must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment or other services by Dec. 5, 2021. All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022.

Last month, Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, Senate President J. Stuart Adams, House Speaker Brad Wilson, State Auditor John Dougall and State Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks joined a lawsuit opposing the proposed federal mandate requiring vaccinations for federal contractor employees nationwide.“We must take a stand for hardworking Utahns who are being forced to either get the vaccine or lose their jobs…,”they said in a joint statement.

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