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New vaccine workplace guidelines mean you could have to show proof of vaccination in early January

Virus Outbreak Vaccine
Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 12:02:07-04

CINCINNATI — We now know the timeline for the national workplace vaccine mandate the Biden Administration ordered in September.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration filed the 490-page guidelines with the Federal Register Thursday morning. The Federal Register expects to publish the rule Friday.

The new standard gives businesses with 100 or more employees 30 days to come up with a vaccination policy and workers 60 days to show vaccine proof or submit to weekly testing.

That means you could have to show proof of vaccination by January 4, 2022.

The ETS also requires employers to do the following:

  • Determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
  • Require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status; employers must not allow them to return to work until they meet required criteria.
  • Ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer).
  • Ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.

We spoke to a few companies about what they will do about the looming deadline.

“We certainly will follow the federal guidelines,” said Tim Schroeder, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Cincinnati-based CTI.

Others, like P&G, already have policies on hold, ready to go. Some, like Cincinnati Financial and Fifth Third Bank, say they are still reading the rule.

OSHA said it will allow companies to make certain accommodations for those with religious objections to testing.

Some businesses questioned what this means if the majority of their employees work from home. OSHA said those that work from home full time will not have to submit to testing or show vaccine proof.

OSHA addresses seasonal workers, contractors and other frequently asked questions here.

Attorney General Dave Yost plans to file a lawsuit in federal court Friday asking a judge to pause the mandate and decide if it is Constitutional.

“I encourage people to get the vaccine. What I stand against is the president taking the power to order us what we're going to inject into our bodies,” said Yost.

President Joe Biden ordered the Department of Labor to come up with a rule in September. The goal was to get more people vaccinated and lead us out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

”He’s not Congress. He doesn’t have the right to go in and promulgate a law,” said Yost.

Yost argues it is outside OSHA’s scope, too.

“It’s supposed to be workplace issues. Things that belong in a workplace: an acid vat, scaffolding, a lack of railing. It doesn't apply to something that exists everywhere in the world,” said Yost.