Are You Ready to Meet the Workplace Vaccine Mandates?
September 17, 2021 / Corporate Wellness
An Overview of What Biden’s New Workplace Vaccine Mandates Mean for You and Your Employees
On Thursday, September 9th, 2021, President Joe Biden announced two executive orders mandating vaccines for both federal government and employers with over 100 employees. These new mandates will affect roughly 100 million workers—that’s two-thirds of the American workforce.
Here’s what you need to know:
Organizations with 100+ Employees Are Affected
President Biden has requested that the Department of Labor issue an emergency rule that would require vaccination or weekly testing for unvaccinated employees at employers with 100 or more workers.
Employers who do not meet the workplace vaccine requirements would face up to a $14,000 fine per violation should they not comply. This emergency rule also includes providing paid time off to allow employees to receive the vaccine and recover.
A deadline has yet to be determined for organizations to implement the mandate. However, many companies are already developing and implementing employee vaccination mandate plans to prepare in order to minimize impact to everyday operations and productivity.
Federal Workers and Contractors Must Get Vaccinated
Previously, individuals who worked with the federal government had the option to get tested regularly and on an ongoing basis. The new workplace vaccine mandate no longer allows federal employees to opt-out of getting vaccinated.
“It’s simple: If you want to work for the federal government, you must be vaccinated. If you want to do business with the government, you must vaccinate your workforce,” said President Biden.
Federal workers and contractors will have 75 days from the date of the President’s announcement to get vaccinated against the virus.
Healthcare Workers Are Required to Be Vaccinated
Healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements are also affected by workplace vaccine mandates. Of the 7 million U.S. healthcare workers, a study conducted by the COVID States Project found that more than one-quarter had not yet been vaccinated as of August 2021. Healthcare workers must now be vaccinated to continue their employment.
Who Else Is Impacted by Vaccine Mandates?
In addition to workplace vaccine mandates for federal employees, healthcare workers, and the private sector, President Biden addressed schools and public venues. Schools are urged to ramp up testing and were offered federal financial support to public school districts that lost state funding for adopting COVID safety measures. The President also asked local governors to consider mandating vaccines for all school staff members.
To reduce the continued spread of the virus in public places, entertainment venues—particularly those with large capacities—were encouraged to require proof of vaccination for entry. Public modes of transportation, including airlines, will reinforce doubled fines for passengers who refuse to comply with masking for safety.
Vaccinated or Not, How Can Organizations Manage COVID Safety in the Workplace?
Employers impacted by this workplace vaccine mandate will be required to ensure that unvaccinated workers are tested regularly to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. To make it easy for unvaccinated employees to adhere to this rule, Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger will make at-home test kits available for purchase, and a government-funded testing program is slotted to roll out at more than 10,000 pharmacies.
While the availability of vaccines and options for regular testing will make it easier for employees to follow these new rules, ultimately, it will be the employer’s responsibility to manage the vaccination and COVID status of their workforce.
As a result, companies will need efficient, scalable ways to accomplish this in a way that is easy to implement and maintain.
Last year, Virgin Pulse met the need of ensuring COVID safety in the workplace with the introduction of VP Passport to screen employees for symptoms and risks before entering the workplace for our customers.
Now we’re launching new functionality to manage the vaccination and testing status in order for our customers to meet the mandates.
Designed to mitigate risk and ensure the health and safety of employees, VP Passport includes COVID symptom monitoring tools, vaccination and testing status, and real-time reporting. This all-in-one digital platform will help organizations stay aligned with the latest safety recommendations, vaccine mandates, and workplace regulations set forth by the federal and local government while reinforcing a culture of holistic wellbeing as a part of Virgin Pulse Homebase for Health®.
Workplace vaccine mandates are rolling out across the globe. With VP Passport, employers can feel confident reopening the workplace safely—without the additional administrative burden of developing a tool or system for monitoring their employees’ vaccination status.