Biden administration ordered U.S. companies to get all their employees fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022, or face a penalty as high as $136,532 for willful violation
On September 9, the Biden administration announced the sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements that affect about 100 million Americans. The new measures include a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors and a requirement that large companies with more than 100 employees must mandate vaccines or regular testing for employees. Biden said companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation.
Today, the Biden administration ordered U.S. companies Thursday to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or regularly tested for Covid-19 by January 4, 2022, or face penalties which range from $13,653 per serious violation to $136,532 if a company willfully violates the rules, according to CNBC. With this amount of penalty, many small companies and tech startups with 100 or more employees, may likely go out of business.
The newly released rules were issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Labor Department. The rules apply to businesses with 100 or more employees. In a 490-page document, OSHA said:
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 by strongly encouraging vaccination. Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.”
According to the requirements, all unvaccinated workers must begin wearing masks by December 5 and provide a negative Covid test on a weekly basis after the January deadline. Companies are not mandated to pay for or provide the tests unless they are otherwise required to by local or state laws or in labor union contracts. The requirement also stated that any employee who tests positive is prohibited from going to work.
A senior administration official said that OSHA will conduct on-site workplace inspections to ensure companies comply with the rules, Fines for non-compliance can range from $13,653 per serious violation to $136,532 if a company willfully violates the rules. OSHA added that US companies have until December 5 to offer paid time for employees to get vaccinated and paid sick leave for them to recover from any side effects.
Back in September, Biden said:
“My job as president is to protect all Americans,” Mr. Biden said Thursday. “So tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employ over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.”
In the executive order mandating the vaccines for U.S. companies, Biden also noted that “The health and safety of the federal workforce, and the health and safety of members of the public with whom they interact, are foundational to the efficiency of the civil service. I have determined that ensuring the health and safety of the federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service requires immediate action to protect the federal workforce and individuals interacting with the federal workforce.”2021-23643 (1)