While the ETS published on November 5, 2021, clarified the requirements for private businesses, federal agencies, their employees, and contractors are facing challenges of their own. They have to ensure that vaccination without an option to choose regular testing instead. However, questions about the process and its legitimacy remain.
OSHA’s emergency temporary standard clearly states that its provisions do not apply to federal staff or healthcare workers and those in healthcare support services.
According to the Safer Federal Workplace Task Force’s guidance, federal employers and contractors have until December 8, 2021, to ensure that all staff covered by the mandate are fully vaccinated. For the national team, the mandate does not offer an alternative to vaccination.
Exceptions are only being considered under a limited number of circumstances. Medical conditions and disabilities are acceptable reasons for employees and contractors to be considered for an exception. Those with sincere religious beliefs, observances, or practices may also be exempt.
While the task force allows individual contractors to determine which accommodations they may offer, it has also made it clear that it is the contractor’s responsibility to prove vaccination status.
With contractors running out of time to ensure complete vaccination and new contracts requiring contractor employees to be vaccinated within a maximum of 60 days, HR professionals are facing a monumental task.
Your HR team needs to document the vaccination status of each employee and ensure those records are stored safely. Vaccination confirmation documents contain sensitive medical information about the individual they cover.
Gone are the days when medical records could safely be kept in filing cabinets. Not only is this impractical for agencies and contractors with a large workforce, but it is also raising questions about data protection and privacy.
The technology solution is right here. Platforms like the vaccination verification powered by TrueCare™ have taken over the function of the filing cabinet while adding safety and functionality.
The process is simple: contractor employees need to submit their vaccination records to their employers.
Working with a verification app means the individual contractor can upload their immunization certificate on their mobile phone. The history automatically pops up in front of an HR professional who can verify its authenticity quickly and conveniently.
Once you have created a record, it is easy to maintain and update. It is essential if contractor employees are moving between sites. Using an app for compliance record-keeping means you can see the vaccination status of each location at a glance.
Legal challenges may arise over the coming weeks and months as employers review the provisions.
However, it is doubtful that those challenges will be ruled upon before the complete vaccination requirement for federal agencies and contractors becomes effective in early December.
Even if the mandate’s stipulations are amended later, for the time being, HR professionals have to ensure compliance.
While opinions on the vaccine mandate differ widely, it is essential to remember the intention behind President Biden’s plan and OSHA’s directive: increased safety in American workplaces. To date, the coronavirus pandemic has caused over 46 million infections throughout the United States and nearly 750,000 deaths.
Vaccines may not prevent infection entirely, as the Delta variant has shown. However, they are highly efficient when it comes to preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death. The vaccines approved in the U.S. have a strong safety record.
By mandating vaccinations, the Biden administration combats vaccine hesitancy. By following the vaccine mandate, we all secure our workplaces are safe and COVID-free.
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.