President Joe Biden has ordered OSHA to mandate vaccines or routine testing for large employers.
But numerous questions remain around what that will entail for businesses.
Retail Industry Leaders Association say that a vaccine mandate amounts to a “colossal undertaking.”

See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 employees has prompted numerous questions from business leaders. The Business Roundtable, a group made up of executives from top tech and retail businesses, has come out in support of the mandate. However, few large companies have shared how exactly they plan on implementing the new rules.

“While we await more details about the requirements, it is essential that the Administration understand that requiring large employers to mandate vaccination of all employees or produce a negative test is a colossal undertaking,” a spokesperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association said in a statement. “Coordination with industry and all levels of government is essential to avoid a chaotic and counterproductive situation.”

Still, there are a number of questions currently rattling around C-suite-level Zoom sessions and conference calls, sources close to discussions told Insider.

1. When will the vaccine mandate take effect?

Rolling out a major vaccination push while juggling the 2021 holiday rush could pose a major challenge for businesses already struggling with supply chain issues and labor shortages.

2. How will OSHA enforce the vaccine mandate?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is tasked with ensuring workplace safety, is in charge of introducing the new standard. However, OSHA is known for being understaffed, and it remains unclear how exactly the agency plans to go about enforcing the new mandate.

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3. How will employers and OSHA verify vaccination status?

Vaccination verification is a process that varies between localities across the US. For a company with over 100 employees, tracking vaccination status could prove to be a major undertaking.

4. Will the vaccine mandate include exemptions?

Insider spoke with Kate Bally, the Director of Labor and Employment Service at Thomson Reuters Practical Law. She said that there will likely be carve-outs in the mandate for people with disabilities and individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs. But employees can’t just make up an anti-vaccination spirituality on the spot.

“The employer gets to push back and say, ‘I need to hear from your pastor, I need to hear them say that your religion doesn’t authorize vaccinations,'” Bally said. “It’s not enough to say, ‘I’m afraid of the vaccine.'”

5. What penalties could large employers incur for failing to comply with the policy?

Business leaders want to know what kind of penalties are in store for companies that break the rules. Bally said that it’s possible that, with backing from OSHA, such employers could be more at risk for class action lawsuits.

6. What penalties could non-exempted workers incur for failing to get vaccinated?

It’s still not clear what exactly will become of employees who refuse to get vaccinated or …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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