U.S. Department of Labor Issues Vaccine Mandate – What’s Next for Employers?


On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced a forthcoming federal rule that will require all private sector companies with 100 or more employees to require their employees to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19. While many companies have struggled over recent months whether and to what extent to implement vaccination and testing requirements for their employees, the upcoming federal rule will take much of the decision-making out of the hands of employers and put it into the hands of the Department of Labor.

The Emergency Temporary Standard will be issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and is expected to affect 80 million workers. It will also require employers to provide paid-time-off to employees to get vaccinated and recover from the vaccine. Enforcement of the Emergency Temporary Standard will include fines up to $14,000 per violation for employers that do not comply with the vaccine/testing mandate and paid-time-off requirement.

Additional details regarding the parameters of the rule’s requirements will be specified in the Emergency Temporary Standard, which is expected to be issued in upcoming weeks. Porter Hedges will continue to monitor all developments involving the Emergency Temporary Standard and corresponding guidance from the Department of Labor, and provide updates as such developments occur.

In the meantime, companies with 100 or more employees should begin to consider developing or updating their vaccination and/or testing policies, as they will be required to do soon under the new rule.


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