Emergency vaccine rule for large employers will be issued ‘in the coming days’
Kaitlan Collins and Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) — The Federal Register will publish within days the Labor Department’s rule requiring private businesses with 100 or more employees to vaccinate them or test them weekly, fulfilling an announcement President Joe Biden made in September.
The Office of Management and Budget completed its required review of the emergency rule on Monday.
“On November 1, the Office of Management and Budget completed its regulatory review of the emergency temporary standard. The Federal Register will publish the emergency temporary standard in the coming days,” a Labor Department spokesman said. “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working expeditiously to develop an emergency temporary standard that covers employers with 100 or more employees, firm- or company-wide, and provides options for compliance.”
The spokesman added, “Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose either to get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. The ETS also requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and paid sick leave to recover from any side effects.”
In September, Biden announced the Labor Department would draft an emergency rule compelling private companies with 100 or more employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing.
The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans, which is close to two-thirds of the American workforce. The announcement amounted to Biden’s strongest push yet to require vaccines for much of the country.
The new emergency temporary standard will require large employers to give their workers paid time off to get vaccinated. If businesses don’t comply, the government will “take enforcement actions,” which could include “substantial fines” of up to nearly $14,000 per violation, according to officials.
Officials have said the standard was a “minimum” and that some companies may choose to go further, including by mandating the vaccine instead of offering a testing alternative.
At the time, Biden also signed an executive order requiring all government employees be vaccinated against Covid-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out. The President signed an accompanying order directing the same standard be applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.
About 22% of the eligible population has not received a Covid-19 vaccine, and the President has repeatedly urged these Americans to get the shot to protect themselves, their loved ones and help the nation recover from the pandemic.
More than 191 million people, or 58% of the total US population, are fully vaccinated. The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11, which could pave the way for millions more Americans getting vaccinated, pending CDC approval.