President Biden is considering introducing an additional vaccine mandate for small businesses, similar to the one currently being implemented for big businesses.
As Fox Business report, the proposed mandate will cover businesses operating with fewer than 100 employees, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate for big businesses coming into effect from 4 January 2022. It will force businesses with over 100 employees to mandate vaccines or their employees must wear masks and be tested weekly for Covid-19.
The new vaccine mandate for small businesses could have implications for companies lacking the administrative capacity to implement the mandate’s requirements quickly and correctly. The reason why the 100-employee threshold was originally decided upon for the first mandate was because it was only these larger businesses that OSHA were confident could administer the mandate properly.
An OSHA spokesperson also admitted that a big part of the original 100-employee threshold was because they did not have enough time to assess the impact on smaller businesses. Now the first mandate for bigger businesses is going ahead, they will undertake a thorough assessment of the impact a similar mandate will have on smaller business.
Avoiding ‘Undue Disruption’ to Small Businesses
A summary was recently released by OSHA which explained their decision to now consider a mandate for small businesses.
The summary explained: “OSHA is confident that employers with 100 or more employees have the administrative capacity to implement the standard’s requirements promptly, but is less confident that smaller employers can do so without undue disruption. OSHA needs additional time to assess the capacity of smaller employers, and is seeking comment to help the agency make that determination.”
A Department of Labor spokesperson also confirmed that they are considering extending the vaccine or mask and testing mandate to businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
Paid Leave for Worker Vaccinations
The OSHA mandate being implemented for businesses with 100 or more employees requires the employers to provide paid time for their workers while they get vaccinated. It also requires all unvaccinated workers to wear a face mask in the workplace. It is estimated that the mandate will cover around 84 million employees.
In addition to the OSHA mandate, the Biden Administration is introducing a requirement for health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated. This mandate is being organized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services. It affects approximately 17 million more workers at around 76,000 health care facilities, which includes hospitals and long-term care homes.
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