White House Unveils Vaccine Mandate Details for Workplaces

Nov. 4, 2021

The Biden Administration has set the deadline for employers with at least 100 workers to ensure either every employee is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or unvaccinated employees are tested weekly. Employers also will be required to provide paid time for their workers to get the shot.

The administration announced the initiative in September, but hadn’t provided details of how the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) would implement the rule until now.

On Nov. 4 the White House provided more details, while also detailing an initiative to guarantee health care workers are vaccinated. The full details and requirements from OSHA are available here.

The most important detail for tire dealers and business owners is the deadline. And there are actually two deadlines.

By Jan. 4, 2022, employers with at least 100 staff will need to begin requiring weekly tests of employees who remain unvaccinated.

But other rules, including a mask mandate for unvaccinated employees and providing paid time off to get vaccinated — go into effect one month earlier  on Dec. 5.

And importantly, OSHA says it is “making clear that their new rules preempt any inconsistent state or local laws, including laws that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, masks, or testing.”

To comply, an employee will need to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4th — that means two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Employers will be required to pay workers for the time it takes to get the vaccine, “and, if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects experienced that keep them from working.”

For employees who remain unvaccinated, OSHA will require that employers “ensure all unvaccinated workers wear a face mask in the workplace.” Those unvaccinated workers will also have to produce a negative COVID-19 test on “at least a weekly basis.”

Employers won’t have to pay for those tests — unless another government rule or collective bargaining agreement requires it.

In the event any employee tests positive  no matter if vaccinated or unvaccinated the rule requires the employer to remove that worker from the workplace. The same goes for an employee confirmed positive by a licensed health care professional.

The government says these rules will apply to 84 million employees.

“OSHA has a strong 50-year record of requiring employers to take common sense actions to prevent workers from getting sick or injured on the job,” the White House said.