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OSHA Issues COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Standard

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Standard

Here’s what you need to know about OSHA’s new vaccination and testing mandate. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) mandating employers with 100 employees or more to require COVID-19 vaccinations or implement mandatory testing and mask-wearing for unvaccinated employees. However, it is important to note that on November 6, 2021, an appeals court temporarily blocked the rule. The National Apartment Association (NAA) will keep members apprised as the case continues through the court system.

Here’s what rental owner and management firms with 100 employees or more need to know:

  • A “covered employer” is any employer with 100 employees or more.
    • Part-time and full-time employees are both considered in the employee headcount. Independent contractors do not count towards employee headcount.
    • The ETS does not apply to employees who work exclusively from home or employees who work exclusively outdoors.
    • Employers with 100 employees or more spread amongst several locations are covered under the ETS, even if less than 100 employees work at each location.
  • Under the ETS, a covered employer must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy or adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.
  • Employers are required to provide up to four hours of paid time for their employees to get vaccinated and, if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects of vaccination. Employers are not required to provide paid leave or reasonable sick leave for the purposes of weekly testing.
  • Covered employers must abide by additional recordkeeping and notification requirements according to the ETS.
  • While the ETS becomes effective on November 5, 2021, OSHA is providing covered employers with additional time to comply.
    • By December 5, 2021, covered employers must ensure all of the ETS requirements are addressed in the workplace, except for the testing requirement for employees who are not fully vaccinated which must be implemented by January 4, 2022.
  • To learn more about all of the new responsibilities for covered employers, review OSHA’s resources:
  • OSHA intends to preempt any State or local requirements that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, face covering, or testing.

The ETS will serve as the framework for a permanent proposed standard that may be implemented within six months. While the ETS does not apply to employers with less than 100 employees, OSHA is not ruling out similar regulatory action applicable to smaller employers. The agency is soliciting public comment and seeking additional information to assess the ability of smaller employers to comply with these requirements.

NAA will continue to monitor the implementation of the ETS and work with the Administration to address the industry’s concerns. For more information, please reach out to Sam Gilboard, NAA’s Senior Manager of Public Policy.