President Joe Biden plans to announce that the Department of Labor will require companies with 100 or more workers to implement vaccine-or-test mandates, part of a series of new measures aimed at boosting coronavirus vaccination rates, senior administration officials said Thursday.
The emergency order from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will impact 80 million workers and require unvaccinated workers to be tested at least once a week, according to a White House fact sheet reviewed by Forbes.
Businesses that don’t comply with the order could face “substantial fines” up to nearly $14,000 per violation, an official told Forbes.
The official also dismissed concerns that the rule will result in litigation, telling reporters Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has “a right to do this,” and said the rulemaking will be “done in a couple weeks” and implemented shortly thereafter.
OSHA will also develop a rule to require businesses with over 100 workers to provide paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects, according to the fact sheet.
Biden is also planning to stop giving federal workers the option to submit to regular coronavirus testing instead of getting vaccinated, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters unvaccinated workers will have about 75 days to get their shot.
Psaki said federal workers who refuse to get vaccinated after 75 days will go through the “standard HR process, which includes counseling,” and will face “progressive disciplinary action.”
Biden will sign an additional executive order extending that vaccine mandate to contractors that do business with the federal government.
Biden is also expanding a directive withholding federal funds from nursing homes that don’t mandate coronavirus vaccinations for staff to “most healthcare settings” that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, covering 17 million health care workers, the fact sheet says.
Other parts of Biden’s sweeping new coronavirus and economic recovery plan include increasing the number of federal personnel deployed to hospitals to treat coronavirus patients, accelerating the distribution of monoclonal antibodies and coronavirus tests, doubling fines for violating the government’s mass transit mask mandate, expanding loans and loan forgiveness to small businesses and pushing for vaccine mandates and regular testing in schools.
652,480. That’s the number of coronavirus deaths the U.S. has faced throughout the pandemic, with 1,647 deaths reported on Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A forced vaccine should never be a condition for employment & this is nothing short of tyranny,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) tweeted of the mandate for federal workers, with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) adding, “People will remember those who did this to them & who did not speak out.”