Businesses in the United States have been advised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday to implement President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing requirements, despite a federal court order that has temporarily halted the rules.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these businesses have until January 4, 2022, to ensure their staff are vaccinated and unvaccinated staff present weekly negative test results from December 5, 2021.
The mandate which was given by President Joe Biden was paused by a court order on November 6, by a three-judge panel, following lawsuits from Republican attorney generals of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah, as well as several private companies, arising from claims that the OSHA, which ensures workplace safety for the Labour Department, is acting outside its authority.
What you should know
President Biden’s requirement has been termed as “fatally flawed” and “staggeringly overbroad” by a Circuit Judge, Kurt D. Engelhardt, describing it as “a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and for workers).”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has given businesses with 100 or more employees an ultimatum from now till January 4, 2022, to ensure their staff have received the shots required for vaccination, after which, unvaccinated employees will be required to submit a negative Covid test every week to gain access to their workplace. In addition, unvaccinated workers will also be mandated to wear facemasks indoors at the workplace starting December 5, 2021.
The Biden administration, last week, asked the court to lift the pause, warning that failure to implement the requirements “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day” as Covid spreads. The Justice and Labour Departments maintain that OSHA acted well within its authority as established by Congress.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary said on Friday that the new mandate will encourage people to return to the workplace by creating a safer environment where they are less likely to contract Covid and alleviate staffing issues created by employees falling ill.
After the Biden administration published the requirements on November 4, the Chamber said it was focused on helping its members get their employees vaccinated and communicating any implementation issues to OSHA, which will enforce the requirements.