Federal COVID Vaccine-Or-Testing Mandate Goes Into Effect

Monday, January 10th 2022, 5:20 pm

Many across the nation may have gone in to work to find new COVID policies in place. 

The vaccinate or mask and test mandate went into effect Monday, Jan. 10, and it applied to businesses with 100 or more employees, unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in.

Per the mandate, those businesses can either require employees to get the shots or wear a mask and get tested weekly; but some businesses may be hesitant.

"It's hard to put these things in place with the uncertainty surrounding them," said Mary Synder, director and shareholder of Crowe and Dunlevy's Labor and Employment Group.

Snyder said the process to make new COVID policies are a lot of work for the companies. 

"It needed to collect information from employees about their vaccination status," said Snyder. "It needed to put in place provisions for paid time to get a vaccine and paid time off, in addition to regular paid time off in the event an employee needed some sick time to recover from the effects of the vaccine."

OSHA won't penalize businesses if the testing portion isn't implemented until after February 9. How the test will be done gives Oklahoma businesses an extra hurdle.

"Oklahoma does have a law that's specific to Oklahoma about employers paying for required medical tests," Snyder said. "The majority of us employment lawyers think that it probably makes it that Oklahoma employers need to pay for the testing even though the ETS doesn't require it."

OSHA may hold off on penalties if a company shows its new policy is in the works.

"Making sure that you can show that you were acting diligently and taking the steps you need to take to get it in place as soon as possible after today's date," said Snyder.

On top of the moving pieces within the mandate itself, the U.S. Supreme Court could strike down the mandate all together.

 "All those employers are going to have to notify the employees the never mind that's not in place after all it's just going to cause a lot of confusion," Snyder said.

That decision is expected to come down pn Wednesday.


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