Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Goes into Effect
President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate went into effect this week amid a continued Supreme Court battle over the order’s fate.
Previously, a federal court blocked the order, and then it was reinstated, leaving employers unsure how to proceed. Justices seemed skeptical about the mandate’s legality on Friday but didn’t block or postpone its implementation.
The order requires businesses with 100 or more workers to have a database of their vaccination statuses, post their company vaccine policy, provide paid leave to employees getting the vaccine, and require unvaccinated employees to wear a mask.
Enforcement of the rule falls to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency said it won’t issue penalties until February 9.
“OSHA has been very careful to say that as long as employers are in good faith moving towards compliance, that they’re not going to issue any citations until February 9,” Domenique Camacho Moran, a New York-based employment attorney, told The Hill.
“But if there’s an egregious violation, I don’t think employers can rely on the promise that there will not be a citation,” she continued. “Employers need to take steps to immediately comply.”
However, even collecting information on employees’ vaccination statuses has been difficult for some.
“Even the requirement of just figuring out who is vaccinated and who isn’t is a significant burden, and the confusion around court rulings and whether the rule is in effect hasn’t helped,” said Ed Egee of the National Retail Federation, which asked the Supreme Court to halt the mandate.
Employers who fail to comply with the order could face up to $14,000 in fines per violation.