News OSHA issues COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers, beginning Jan. 4

Companies with 100 or more employees must ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have unvaccinated workers produce weekly negative test results starting Jan. 4,  the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Thursday.

Organizations that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation, according to AP News.

The announcement comes nearly two months after President Joe Biden first ordered sweeping federal vaccine requirements, as part of an effort to rein in the then-surging delta variant and to curb vaccine resistance across the country. Overall, the new requirements will apply over 80 million workers across the country.

Employees will need to receive either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the deadline. In addition to submitting weekly negative test results, unvaccinated employees must also wear face masks.

OSHA will also require businesses to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccines and sick leave to recover from side effects that prevent them from working. Requirements for masks and paid time off for shots will take effect on Dec. 5. Employers will not be required to pay for testing.

As of Oct. 28, over 417 million vaccine doses have been administered and over 221 million people, or two thirds of the total U.S. population, have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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