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OSHA Issues Vaccine Mandate for Certain Employers

BY: Jyme Mariani, Esq. | 11/05/21

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect workers from COVID-19 [86 F.R. 61402, 11-5-21]. The ETS covers employers with 100 or more employees that are under OSHA’s authority and jurisdiction.

Under the ETS, covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. Here are the compliance deadlines:

  • By December 5, 2021, employees who are not vaccinated are required to wear a face mask at work
  • By January 4, 2022, employees must be fully vaccinated or undergo COVID-19 testing at least weekly (the ETS does not require employers to pay for testing or face coverings)

Remote Employees

The ETS does not apply to employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present, employees while they are working from home, or employees who work exclusively outdoors. However, remote and part-time employees are counted in the number of employees to determine whether the 100-employee threshold is reached.

Paid Time Off Required for Vaccines

The ETS requires covered employers to provide:

  • A reasonable amount of time during work hours (up to four hours of paid time, at the employee’s regular rate of pay) to employees for each of their primary vaccination doses
  • A reasonable amount of time and paid sick leave to employees to recover from the side effects experienced following any primary vaccination dose

To learn more about federal and state laws, regulations, and information to keep your company's payroll operations in compliance, check out Payroll Source Plus!


Jyme Mariani, Esq., is Managing Editor of Payroll Currently and Senior Manager of Payroll Information Resources for the APA.