Biden orders mandatory vaccination for companies with more than 100 employees

Biden orders mandatory vaccination for companies with more than 100 employees

The United States government announced on November 4 that employees of private sector companies that have more than 100 people hired will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as of January 4, 2022. Those who do not want to be vaccinated will have to take a test weekly to detect the virus and use the mask on a mandatory basis.

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The measure announced by the Joe Biden Administration will affect about 84 million American private sector workers. However, some 18 million workers are exempt because they work remotely or outdoors all the time.

Guidance in the private sector is made under the emergency authority of the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on workplace safety.

Starting on January 4, employees will have the possibility to be vaccinated during working hours and the employer cannot prohibit doing so during this period. Additionally, testing will be free and medical or religious exemptions are allowed.

Seeing the increase in infections by Covid-19 in Europe and the imminent arrival of winter, the United States intends with this to increase vaccination rates in the face of the latent threat of a peak of positive cases.

The end is for many people to be able to return to their jobs, however, retail companies, logistics companies, construction workers, among others, asked President Biden to delay the vaccination deadline until after the New Year, citing concerns about a labor shortage.

“It is important to understand that there are still many workers who are not protected and are at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19,” said a senior Biden Administration official, quoted by Reuters.

Compulsory vaccination under the risk of receiving a fine

After the announcement of the new measure, the White House also assured that, if it is not complied with, companies will have to pay fines of up to $ 14,000. The control will be based on labor inspections of certain companies, although they did not report whether the workers would be fired if they refuse to receive the vaccine or the test.

“Since 2020, the coronavirus has killed 750,000 people in the United States and infected millions more, making it the deadliest pandemic in the nation’s history. Many of the people killed and infected by this virus were workers whose main exposure occurred at their jobs. OSHA estimates that this rule will save thousands of lives and prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations due to exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace, ”OSHA explained in a statement on its website.

On January 4, 2022, another measure will also take effect for workers in medical centers participating in the public Medicare or Medicaid programs. From that date, everyone will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, thus covering 17 million employees in 76,000 health care facilities.

Mandatory vaccination has already been in place for a few weeks for federal government contractors and state workers, thus covering most of the country’s workforce.

To date, the United States has vaccinated about 70 percent of its adult population with the full schedule. However, about 1,100 Americans still die daily from the virus, the vast majority of them unvaccinated.

Ben Oakley
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