Biden Announces Action Plan on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a broad COVID-19 Action Plan entitled “Path out of the Pandemic.” Among other items, the Action Plan included two Executive Orders requiring most federal government employees and federal contractors to implement vaccine mandates. The Action Plan also indicates that additional vaccine mandates will be required for large private employers and healthcare entities receiving certain federal funds.
Federal Employees and Federal Contractors
Building upon a previous federal directive which required federal employees and contractors to either get vaccinated or get regularly tested, Biden’s new executive orders require most federal employees as well as federal contractors to get fully vaccinated.
Healthcare Employers Receiving Medicare/Medicaid Funds
The Action Plan indicates that President Biden will be directing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to require workers in healthcare settings that receive Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement to get vaccinated.
Large Employers (100 or More Employees)
Perhaps the most expansive component of the Action Plan is that President Biden has indicated he will be directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to require their workers to either (1) get vaccinated; or (2) test weekly for COVID-19.
In the coming weeks, we expect to hear more details on how these new sweeping mandates will be implemented and enforced, including, whether any exemptions for health or religious grounds will be permitted. Additionally, more information is expected on what the potential ramifications will be for employers and individuals for failure to comply.
Hinckley Allen will continue to monitor the ever-developing COVID-19 situation and provide updates as appropriate. For further information, contact any member of our Labor & Employment Group.