Breaking Down the New U.S. Federal Vaccine Mandates: A Crowdsourced Q&A

The Getting Hybrid Work Right call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders on all aspects of hybrid work. This week's call focused on the recently announced OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard). We were joined by Jackie Len, Senior Counsel, Human Resources and Employee Relations at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, who along with i4cp CEO Kevin Oakes and Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone, answered a wide range of questions submitted ahead of time and raised by participants in the chat. Although a Federal Appeals Court judge has for now stayed the OSHA ruling, we proceeded on the assumption that businesses should be prepared to follow the ruling, whether at the currently set deadlines or at some point after.

First, some high-level basics were shared and discussed:

  1. The deadline for vaccination/testing compliance is January 4, 2022
    • Workers must get paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects
    • Under the previous Executive Order, Federal workers have until November 22, while federal contractors now have until January 4
    • Workers will be able to ask for exemptions based on medical or religious reasons
  2. Employers don't need to pay for testing
    • Differs by state and collective bargaining agreements
  3. Unvaccinated workers must wear masks
    • Starts December 5, 2021
  4. Under the previous Executive Order, Healthcare workers must get vaccinated
    • No testing option