November 4, 2021 - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine.

The standard covers employers with 100 or more employees. Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular Covid-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. The ETS also requires employers to do the following:

  • Determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee's vaccination status.
  • Require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status; employers must not allow employees to return to work until they meet the required criteria.
  • Ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within seven days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer).
  • Ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.

The emergency temporary standard does not require employers to pay for testing. Employers may be required to pay for testing to comply with other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other collectively negotiated agreements. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings.

November 5, 2021 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a vaccine mandate requiring workers that participate in CMS programs have an initial dose of a two-dose vaccine by December 6, 2021. The second dose, or a one-dose regiment, must be completed by January 4, 2022. Entities included in the list are:

  • Long Term Care (LTC) Facilities, including Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Nursing Facilities (NFs), generally referred to as nursing homes (§ 483.80) 
  • Home Health Agencies (HHAs) (§ 484.70)

Surveyors will be trained on guidelines to assess compliance with the new requirements, vaccine records, and review of the entity's policies and procedures. Penalties for non-compliance may be applied.

Questions? Contact CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, Department of Health and Human Services, (410) 786-6633, or OSHA at 1-800-321-6742.