What does President Biden’s New Vaccine Mandate Mean for Employers?

As we come up on nearly two years of pandemic life, COVID-19 vaccinations and affordable testing options have become readily available. Any adult, and more recently, any child aged five to 11 years old, can make an appointment at their local pharmacy and receive their vaccination with little effort. Unfortunately, though, several million unvaccinated Americans live in fear of both the vaccine and regular testing. 

Biden’s New COVID-19 Mandate

Just a few days ago, the Biden administration announced a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This mandate will compel private U.S. companies with 100 employees or more to require their employees to be vaccinated or begin a weekly testing protocol by January 4, 2022. Testing is required whether or not the employees are showing symptoms of COVID-19. This mandate also applies to workers in healthcare facilities and nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid government healthcare programs. 

While many government officials believe President Biden has overstepped the boundaries of his office by enforcing this mandate in the private sector, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) actually issued the mandate as an emergency temporary standard (ETS). OSHA is hoping to protect unvaccinated employees from contracting COVID-19 by encouraging vaccinations. 

What Does this Mandate Mean for Your Company?

If you employ at least 100 people at your company, OSHA says that you have to provide your employees with information about this mandate and the vaccine. If your employees refuse to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, they will have to be tested once every seven days and provide documentation of the test result within seven days of the test. Also, if the employee does not report to a workplace where other people are present during a seven-day period, they still have to be tested for COVID-19 within seven days of returning to the workplace and need to show you their results before returning. 

Also, if an employee doesn’t provide their COVID-19 test results, the employer must remove them from the workplace until they can provide the necessary documentation. Records of each test result provided by each employee must be treated as if they were employee medical records, so you will have to retain them as such. The good news is your company isn’t required to pay for or provide the tests unless your state or local law, or labor union contract, specifies it.  

OSHA Fines for Non-Compliance

While you don’t have to pay for testing or vaccinations, It is important to remember, if you don’t comply with this mandate, your company will face fines that could end up in the millions of dollars depending on how many employees you have. In fact, under OSHA’s regulatory power, they can institute fines or imprisonment for up to 5 years if a person knowingly and willfully falsifies a test result, testing protocol, or vaccination status. 

According to OSHA’s website, the fine for a serious violation is up to $13,653 per person. If you continue to refuse to comply, there is an additional $13,653 per day per person fine. And if they decide you are not complying on purpose, the penalty is a $136,532 per person fine. That means if you’re a company of 100 employees and you defy this new COVID-19 mandate, you could face fines of upwards of $1.3 million. 

How SynergyDx Can Help

OSHA has also made it clear they will only accept COVID-19 tests that the FDA has authorized. The employee cannot self-administer and self-read these tests unless their employer or a telehealth proctor oversees the process. Meaning, your company must coordinate regular testing at FDA authorized testing centers or with FDA authorized direct to consumer collection kits. 

At Synergy Dx, we are the trusted leader in COVID-19 testing in South Florida. We’ve worked with private companies and large public entities to provide testing to their employees, whether working in the building or remotely. Both our onsite PCR test and our direct-to-consumer home collection kits have FDA Emergency Use Authorizations. We’ve also designed an employee testing dashboard to help employers automate weekly COVID-19 testing for employees and review their employees’ testing history, effectively streamlining the entire process so that it upholds OSHA’s new regulations. 

To learn more about our employee testing dashboard or how to order our direct-to-consumer test kits, contact us today

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *