As soon as the standards were published, private companies and state governments launched legal challenges. What are the consequences for employers covered by the mandate?
The Biden administration’s vaccine or testing mandate covers companies employing 100 or more staff. According to the ETS published by OSHA earlier this month, those companies have to confirm the vaccination status of their employees by early December. Weekly coronavirus testing needs to be implemented by early January.
Despite the existing legal challenges, it is still possible that employers need to comply with the temporary emergency standards by December 6. Because of the pending challenges, the deadline for compliance is subject to adjustment, but there is no guarantee.
For employers and HR teams, this is not a time to sit back and wait for the courts to decide. At any time, Circuit Court or the Supreme Court could reinstate the standards as they were published by OSHA, leaving you with little time to act. To make your workplace safer, you need to use these days to prepare.
As an HR professional, you need to confirm which standards apply to your business – if you have not done so already. Apart from OSHA’s federal ETS, your organization may also be subject to state rules. So far, 22 states have published their regulations, which a state agency will enforce.
With regulations clarified, you can draft a compliance policy. Having a written document covering vaccinations, testing provisions, and rules relating to face masks will give employees and management clear guidelines.
The first part of the ETS addresses vaccinations. By December 6, your employees need to either be fully vaccinated or agree to weekly testing. Depending on your workforce’s current vaccination status, this could provide logistical issues. Therefore, confirming the vaccine status of your team now leaves you in a better position, no matter what the courts decide.
Technology makes light work of this process. Platforms like the vaccination verification from TrueCare™ help your HR or health and safety team work together with your employees.
Vaccinated employees can easily upload their certificates via the TrueCare™ app on their mobile phones.
Employers can then quickly and seamlessly verify existing vaccinations, allowing them to understand the vaccination status of individual teams and locations.
Employers need to consider offering paid time off for vaccinations for unvaccinated employees. Alternatively, your business could provide on-site vaccination events. These vaccination drives make getting vaccinated easy and convenient for employees. For employers, they reduce the risk of non-compliance. For both parties, they make the workplace safer.
On-site vaccinations are cost-effective and safe if you choose a partner with a proven track record to handle vaccination events of any size.
Apart from verifying vaccine status and preparing for vaccination drives, it would help if you also considered offering weekly testing to those who decide against vaccination.
As employers and employees are waiting for decisions on the legal challenges to the OSHA standards, it is essential to communicate with your team. Employees understand that the company may need to change its policies as standards are altered, but they will be reassured to know the employer’s steps.
Keeping staff informed of the options you are considering or are starting to implement will allow them time to adjust and ask questions. The vaccines have caused solid feelings both in favor and against the shots throughout the American workforce. Most companies will see some reflection of that controversy in their teams.
By communicating openly, you have an opportunity to alleviate doubt and create confidence among your team. That means that you have a chance to indeed hit the ground running when compliance is required.
TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.