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OSHA Sends Employer Vaccine Rule to White House for Final Review

Oct. 12, 2021, 11:47 PM

The U.S. Labor Department advanced an emergency regulation for final White House review that will force many private-sector companies to require employee vaccinations or virus testing.

DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent the rule to the White House’s regulatory office Tuesday, the agency announced. Although the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs can sometimes take months to conclude its analysis, President Joe Biden called for an expedited process, which could mean the office will give its OK in as little as a day.

OSHA would then be able to publish the emergency temporary standard, and it would take effect immediately. Historically, the agency has provided businesses with a short period before they’d be required to comply.

The standard implements the president’s Sept. 9 order for a regulation requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to mandate workers get fully vaccinated or be tested weekly for Covid-19. Biden also asked for the rule to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects.

An emergency standard bypasses what is normally a years-long regulatory process. To do so, OSHA must establish that the vaccination or testing requirement was necessary to protect workers from a “grave danger.”

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working expeditiously to develop an emergency temporary standard that covers employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing to protect employees from the spread of coronavirus in the workplace,” a DOL spokesperson said in an email. “On Tuesday, October 12, as part of the regulatory review process, the agency submitted the initial text of the emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at bpenn@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com

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