In a bid to fight back against COVID-19, the Biden Administration has rolled out a plan that will demand that large employers require workers to either get vaccinated or get tested weekly in a move that is expected to affect 80 million people working in the private sector.
In a White House document released to the public on Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden laid out a “a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy” to fight back against COVID-19.
One of the most significant of the new requirements is an employer vaccine mandate that would force employers with more than 100 workers to either ensure that the workers have taken the vaccine or to require weekly COVID-19 testing.
“The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees,” the White House said.
Additionally, Biden signed an Executive Order requiring vaccination for all federal workers and for federal contractors:
Building on the President’s announcement in July to strengthen safety requirements for unvaccinated federal workers, the President has signed an Executive Order to take those actions a step further and require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated. The President also signed an Executive Order directing that this standard be extended to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government. As part of this effort, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and the National Institute of Health will complete implementation of their previously announced vaccination requirements that cover 2.5 million people.
The White House will also require vaccination for healthcare workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals.
The White House says that OSHA is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they are under the weather post-vaccination.
So far, almost all U.S. trucking companies have shied away vaccine mandates for workers, though some have implemented financial incentives for those who choose to get vaccinated. A recent Truckers News poll indicated that one third of truck drivers would ask to be fired if they were required to take the vaccine, and another 16% said that they would quit their job over vaccine requirements.