Under a new plan proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden, all organizations with 100 or more employees — including large cleaning companies and building service contractors (BSCs) — would have to mandate that their workers receive vaccination against COVID-19 or undergo at least weekly COVID-19 testing.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) intends to issue an emergency temporary standard to implement the measure, which would cover approximately 80 million private-sector workers south of the border.
Businesses that don’t comply may face fines of up to US$14,000 per violation, and employers would also have to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated or to recover from any side effects of getting vaccinated.
The Biden administration also plans to require vaccination for workers including cleaning staff in most healthcare settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, applying to about 50,000 health providers.
The president is also expected to issue an executive order to require federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated, again including janitorial and maintenance staff. Workers in certain educational settings would also need to be vaccinated.
The new requirements are part of an initiative to boost the rate of vaccination, improve access to testing, and make COVID-19 treatments more widely available.
At this stage, though, it is not clear whether the rule would apply to all employees or only those who work in company offices or facilities. The timeframe for implementation is also a little murky, but there will likely be a deadline by which employers must comply.