SR Holguin, PC is a union-side labor and employment law firm with nearly four decades of experience representing private sector unions, public sector unions, and multi-employer trust funds. SR Holguin, PC is committed to providing full-service legal representation to each of our clients.
One way in which SR Holguin, PC ensures our clients and their members stay informed is by keeping you updated on recent developments relating to workers’ rights. Today’s updates come following the release of the September 10, 2021 Path Out Of The Pandemic: President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan. There are five sections of the Plan that could impact you.
According to the Plan, “[t]he President announced [COVID-19] vaccination requirements for the federal government in July and called on the private sector to do more to encourage vaccination as well. Since that time, employers, schools, nursing homes, restaurants, hospitals, and cities in all 50 states have announced new vaccination requirements. Since July, the share of job postings that require vaccination are up 90%.”
1. Workers Who Could Be Impacted: Workers Throughout the United States
According to the Plan, “[t]he 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.”
Pursuant to the Plan, “[t]o continue efforts to ensure that no worker loses a dollar of pay because they get vaccinated, 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. This requirement will be implemented through the ETS.”
2. Workers Who Could Be Impacted: Federal Government Employees and Contractors
The Plan provides, “[b]uilding 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.”
Further, “President Biden’s Executive Order, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, requires masks and specific physical distancing requirements in federal buildings, on federal lands, on military bases, and other overseas locations, consistent with CDC guidance. President Biden’s plan will ensure that these requirements remain in place as we continue to battle COVID-19.”
3. Workers Who Could Be Impacted: Workers in Most Health Care Settings That Receive Medicare or Medicaid Reimbursement
The Plan states, “[t]he Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies. This action builds on the vaccination requirement for nursing facilities recently announced by CMS, and will apply to nursing home staff as well as staff in hospitals and other CMS-regulated settings, including clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care. These requirements will apply to approximately 50,000 providers and cover a majority of health care workers across the country. Some facilities and states have begun to adopt hospital staff or health care sector vaccination mandates. This action will create a consistent standard across the country, while giving patients assurance of the vaccination status of those delivering care.”
4. Workers Who Could Be Impacted: Workers in Head Start Programs, Department of Defense Schools, and Bureau of Indian Education-Operated Schools
In order “[t]o help ensure the safety of students, families, and their communities, the President’s plan includes requirements that teachers and staff at Head Start and Early Head Start programs, teachers and child and youth program personnel at the Department of Defense (DOD), and teachers and staff at Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools get vaccinated. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will initiate rulemaking to implement this policy for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, which provide comprehensive education and child development services to ensure that children are well prepared for kindergarten. The Department of Defense operates 160 K-12 schools for students from military families across the U.S. and abroad, and the Department of the Interior operates 53 schools through the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) across the U.S. on and off tribal lands. These schools and programs collectively serve more than 1 million children each year and employ nearly 300,000 staff. This action will help more schools and early childhood centers safely remain open and give comfort to the many parents that rely on them every day to keep their children safe.”
5. Workers Who Could Be Impacted: School Employees
“In order to keep all children safely learning in school, the President’s plan calls for Governors to require vaccinations for teachers and school staff. Currently, nine states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have vaccination requirements for K-12 school staff, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington. Building on Administration policies to require vaccination among federal employees, including those serving children in DOD and BIE schools, the President is asking more states to join in requiring the vaccine for school employees to make sure we are keeping students safe.”
Further, “[a]s schools return to in-person learning, the Administration is calling on all schools to set up regular testing in their schools for students, teachers, and staff consistent with CDC guidance. CDC currently recommends that…screening testing should be offered to all teachers and staff who have not been fully vaccinated at any level of community transmission.”
We hope these updates are helpful to you.
SR Holguin, PC