September 10, 2021
Here’s something from Barclay Damon on yesterday’s Biden Admin. COVID 19 mandate announcement. Please know that I spoke to Chuck Ingoglia from the National Council again today and they do not have an answer yet on the Biden federal mandate and its’ applicability to community-based mental health and substance use disorder/addiction agencies. I’m keeping my eyes peeled.
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President Biden Announces Sweeping Vaccine Mandates
On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Biden announced even more expansive vaccine mandates that are set to impact an estimated two-thirds of the domestic workforce with Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees and Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. Specifically, federal employees and contractors and health care workers will be required to be vaccinated, and private employers with more than 100 employees will be required to have their employees vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. In addition, federal employees and contractors will no longer be allowed to opt out of the vaccine with testing. Separately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been directed to draft a rule implementing President Biden’s new initiatives.
In addressing the mandate for federal workers, the White House noted that federal workers will be given a 75-day grace period to receive the vaccine unless they have a valid religious or disability exemption. In a press briefing on Thursday, September 9, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that any federal employee that refuses the vaccine will “go through the standard HR process,” including progressive disciplinary action.
OSHA is expected to issue the rule as an emergency temporary standard. The emergency temporary standard should provide more specific details, including the applicability of the mandate to employees who work remotely and the deadlines for compliance. State and local government employees would not be covered by OSHA’s emergency temporary standard.
In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be issuing guidance requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. This requirement will impact over 17 million health care workers at hospitals and other facilities that take these patients.
Barclay Damon’s labor and employment attorneys will continue to monitor developments in COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandates and will provide updates regarding the specific details of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard and CMS’s guidance.