While the state of Mississippi, along with several other states, have filed litigation against the vaccine mandates set forth by OSHA, the Mississippi Economic Council has compiled a fact-based reference for employers.
On November 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal Register its emergency temporary standard (ETS) that will require private sector employers with 100 or more workers to ensure that employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 by Jan. 4, 2022. This deadline also applies to employees of federal contractors and health care workers.
If employers do not want to dismiss employees who are not vaccinated, they have the option to allow those unvaccinated employees to submit a weekly negative COVID test and follow masking requirements when working indoors. Note that the ETS preempts state laws that provide a weaker level of protection, such as those that ban employers from requiring masks or vaccinations.
Businesses may be subject to OSHA inspections to ensure the compliance. Businesses will face fines of up to $13,653 per violation. The fine for willful and repeated violation is $136,532 per violation.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Deadline is January 4, 2022: Employers must ensure that their workers are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or that they test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week thereafter.
- Employers must offer paid time off for vaccination: Employers must begin providing paid time off for vaccination and recovery from side effects by December 5, 2021.
- Employers aren’t required to pay for testing: The OSHA rule does not require employers to pay for testing unless they are otherwise obligated to do so by state or local laws or union contracts.
- Unvaccinated employees must wear masks: Starting December 5th, unvaccinated workers must also wear face coverings while on the job.
- The Mississippi Economic Council is working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to evaluate the practical impact of the OSHA rule and provide additional resources as they become available.
CLICK HERE for details on the following:
- Establishment of Program
- 100 Employee Threshold
- Paid Leave
- Testing Option
- Preemption and State Plan States
- Information Provided to Employees