What do the new OSHA COVID-19 vaccine requirements mean for New Jersey businesses?

Pushback is building against new federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates on private sector employees.

News 12 Staff

Nov 5, 2021, 9:21 PM

Updated 888 days ago


Pushback is building against new federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates on private sector employees.
About 80 million Americans will be impacted by the new mandate, which requires all people who work for companies with 100 employees or more to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or get weekly testing and wear masks.
“I received a call this morning from a large supermarket campaign which is franchised, and they weren’t sure if the 100 figure this applies to applies to them,” says Steven Adler, a labor and employment attorney with the law firm Mandelbaum Barrett.
Adler says that his firm is already getting calls about the new requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He says that many clients have already implemented policies similar to the mandate. And he says that those that haven’t should start planning now.
“Within 30 days, they are supposed to have a policy put together. They are supposed to know who within the organization has been vaccinated or not and also within 30 days they are supposed to mandate people in the office who are not vaccinated to wear masks,” Adler says.
Meanwhile, pushback is building quickly in a handful of states that have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration. In New Jersey, Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew issued a statement saying that the mandates will only exacerbate the labor shortage.
“Our economy will never get back on track if this administration continues to exert government overreach on our American businesses. This mandate will strip millions of workers from the right to make their own personal health decisions. It is completely unacceptable and to put it simply, it is un-American,” Van Drew stated.
But Adler says that it is legal and has been done before. And he says that because it is an OSHA rule, companies are advised to take it seriously.
“The last time there were temporarily emergency standards put in place by OSHA was back in 1983…dealing with asbestos products. So, it hasn’t been used in a long time, but is not unheard of,” Adler says. “Now you face significant penalties if you don't comply. A single violation - the fine is almost $14,000 and it's per violation."
The mandate is currently only for businesses with 100 employees or more. But the feds are already talking about similar rules for smaller companies as well.
Companies will be required to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated, as well as sick leave for side effects.
The new federal mandate also applies to workers at health care facilities who receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, as well as federal contractors

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