Biden Administration Announces New Vaccine Rules for Public and Private Sectors
November 08, 2021

​​​Register Now for OSHA’s Nov. 12 Higher Ed Briefing

Last week, the Biden administration rolled out two new COVID-19 vaccine regulations covering over 100 million employees, including at colleges and universities. These rules join the previously issued vaccine mandate for federal contractors to form the core of the administration’s overall push to get more Americans vaccinated.   

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its long anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Nov. 4, requiring private employers with at least 100 employees and many public employers to establish policies and ensure that their employees are vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. They also must provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and recover from any post-vaccination symptoms. The compliance deadline for most of the rule’s requirements is Dec. 5, and employers have until Jan. 4 to ensure that employees are fully vaccinated or tested weekly.

OSHA reportedly could impose fines of nearly $14,000 per violation for employers that do not comply.

Not all jurisdictions are directly subject to OSHA’s regulations. However, in states that have their own OSHA-approved (so-called “state plans”), the ETS is practically applicable to their private employers since these states are required to either adopt the OSHA ETS or issue their own rule that is at least as protective as the OSHA rule by December 5. (In states without OSHA-approved “state plans,” the ETS does not apply to state and local government employers, including public higher education institutions.)  

As The New York Times and other outlets have reported, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana on Saturday temporarily blocked the rule while it examines the issue in more depth, and gave the Biden administration until 5 p.m. (ET) Monday to respond. Other litigation over the rule also is pending.  

In a separate rule that will impact academic medical centers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Department of Health and Human Services mandated that workers at health care facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid also must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. The CMS rule applies to both clinical and non-clinical employees, including students, trainees, and volunteers who work at a facility that receives federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid.

OSHA’s Higher Ed Briefing Regarding the ETS

The Biden administration is conducting a webinar Nov. 12, from 2-2:45 p.m. ET for college and university officials interested in learning more about the ETS, including those in the state-plan states and territories who want to learn more about its effect on public institutions. Register for the briefing by clicking here. Participants can log their questions in the registration page when they sign up.

ACE is planning to release an issue brief soon on the OSHA rule. In the meantime, there is more information in this OSHA fact sheet.

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