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Vaccine Mandates Blocked For Federal Workers. What Now?

Since the Biden administration announced its plans for a vaccine mandate covering federal workers and private businesses, the government's efforts faced controversy.

States, as well as businesses, threatened legal challenges. Some of those legal proceedings are now slowing down the mandate’s implementation. Find out what that means for your organization.

A Quick Recap

In September 2021, the Biden administration announced a sweeping vaccine mandate for federal employees and private businesses. While employees at private companies with 100 or more staff can choose between vaccination and weekly testing, federal employees do not get the same choice.

Permanent staff and government contractors must get vaccines under the mandate. Those rules include healthcare workers. However, legal challenges have brought the mandate’s implementation to a partial halt.

Federal contractors should have been fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022. This directive by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has now been blocked at least temporarily in three states.

What Is Happening With Healthcare Workers?

The Biden vaccine mandate covers more than 17 million healthcare workers nationwide. The regulations include approximately 76,000 facilities and home healthcare providers, all of which receive funding from government programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.

According to the mandate, all workers should have received their first dose of vaccine by December 6, 2021, and be fully vaccinated by January 4.

The court suspended this regulation for now.

On November 29, a federal judge blocked the government from enforcing the law in ten states. A Louisiana-based federal judge extended the temporary stay to all 50 states one day later. The Louisiana judge argued that such a far-reaching decision should come from Congress. Based on the court’s belief, no federal agency has the mandate to require vaccinations.

Several states fear staffing shortages because of the mandate. Those state governments believe workers will choose to quit over becoming vaccinated. Consequently, those in need may lose out on the healthcare and home care they use.

What Happens Next?

The injunction to stop the federal government from enforcing its regulations is only the first step in what may turn into a lengthy legal process. Both sides will need to present their arguments in front of a judge next.

Healthcare workers are not the only group covered by the mandate that is on hold. In early November, detailed regulations for private businesses were published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Federal courts challenged those temporary emergency standards.

The first of OSHA’s intended deadlines for private businesses has just passed. By December 6, any company employing over 100 staff is required to verify vaccination status and ask anyone not yet vaccinated to wear a mask at work.

What Federal And Private Employers Need To Do Now

While it may seem that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate has ground to a halt, both government and private employers cannot take their eye off the ball.

At this stage, the implementation of the mandates stopped.

Deadlines may be adjusted. However, once confirmed, they are likely to be as short as the original deadlines suggested by the federal government and by OSHA.

No matter the outcome of the legal challenges, preparing how the company will manage the risk of COVID-19 is critical. Proactive employers need to ensure they have a clear company policy or organizational policy laying out the requirements for employees. Preparing a comprehensive document like this will take time, so employers must start now.

Why Vaccination Verification Remains Key

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 threatening workplaces nationwide, it has never been more important for HR professionals and managers to know what percentage of their teams are vaccinated. Without vaccination verification, it is impossible to determine the level of risk an organization faces.

Even if you deal with a vast workforce spread across locations nationwide, verifying vaccination status can be simple.

Platforms like the vaccination verification service from TrueCare™ make vaccination tracking simple.

Employees access the platform via a mobile app, where they upload existing vaccination certificates to be verified by their HR team.

Vaccination verification does not stop there. Educating your team about the benefits of the vaccination is just as important as highlighting that opting for the vaccine goes beyond protecting individuals.

Choosing to become fully vaccinated protects work colleagues, friends, and family members. It is about considering what will be most beneficial for most people, especially as another pandemic wave threatens to hit the United States.

HR teams and employers do not need to create the tools to deal with the situation themselves. Expert help is just a phone call away.

Verify the people’s vaccination status in your organization and record any specific exemptions.

 

About TrueCare™ 

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.

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