President Biden Announces New COVID-19 Action Plan
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a sweeping new COVID-19 Action Plan, Path Out of the Pandemic. This Plan includes COVID-19 vaccine mandates, some without testing options, for large employers, the federal government, federal contractors and healthcare entities. The Plan also provides for expanded access to federal financial assistance for many businesses.
The Plan includes the following components:
- A requirement that all employers with 100+ employees ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly. The Plan directs the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. The White House anticipates that this requirement will apply to over 80 million private sector workers. It remains to be seen how the ETS will be worded and implemented and exactly when the ETS will be issued. A key question is who will pay for testing.
- A requirement that all federal workers and millions of contractors that do business with the federal government are vaccinated. This requirement will eliminate the testing option for those who are not vaccinated unless they receive an approved exemption.
- A requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations for over 17 million health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings.
- Calling on large entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or testing for entry.
- A requirement that all employers with 100+ employees provide paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Many details regarding the Action Plan remain unclear. MEA will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available. Employers should consult with experienced human resources professionals and/or labor and employment counsel with any questions regarding pandemic-related policies or practices. For MEA members, the Hotline and a Member Legal Services attorney are available to provide this assistance.
For more on this and other important Covid-related issues, join our Recovery & Growth webinars on Tuesdays at 11 AM.
Amy G. McAndrew, Esquire
Director of Legal and Compliance Services
MidAtlantic Employers’ Association
*This Alert is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.