More than half of businesses across the United States will be soon impacted by President Joe Biden’s directive to OSHA requiring companies with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their workers against Covid-19 and/or test unvaccinated staff weekly.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was asked to write the rules, which were delivered to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Tuesday night. Since the rules are written under emergency procedures, OSHA is allowed to skip the public comment period.
Companies are expected to have some time to comply with the new OSHA Covid mandate, which will also give employees paid time off to get their vaccines and recover from side effects.
Businesses that don’t comply with the new OSHA Covid mandate could be fined $14,000, according to the LA Times.
Some states, such as Texas and Florida, are challenging the legality of the issue. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order “barring any entity from mandating vaccines for people who object on the basis of personal conscience, religious belief or medical reasons, including past recovery from COVID-19.”
Additionally, Texas Senate Bill 51 would make any entity, including hospitals, vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits if they mandate vaccinations for all employees.
“Vaccines are safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced,” Abbott said of the proposed OSHA vaccine rules.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is hoping to pass legislation preventing companies from firing people who do not wish to get vaccinated. And this week, a Leon County circuit court judge denied a request from hobby shop Bead Abode wanting to require that customers are vaccinated.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is seeking clarification on who will cover the testing costs for businesses, and what happens if employees refuse vaccination and testing.
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