12.21.21 Advocacy Alert: What’s the Latest on Biden’s Vax/Test Mandate?
December 21, 2021
In early November, the Biden administration released a requirement that all employers with 100 or more+ employees require them to be vaccinated or test weekly. Almost immediately, the rule was challenged in court, leading to conflicting information. Here’s what we know going into the final days of the year.
- November 4: OSHA releases “Vax or Test” rule.
- November 12: U.S. Court of Appeals’ 5th Circuit stays rule, citing questions about constitutionality. Because of this, OSHA was prohibited from enforcing the mandate.
- December 17: Court of Appeals’ 6th Circuit lifts the 5th Circuit’s stay, meaning OSHA can again enforce the rule.
- December 30: Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will hear petitions asking the Supreme Court to overrule the circuit courts. Petitions are due on the 30th, and the Supreme Court will likely review the rule after, according to the National Law Review.
- January 10: OSHA plans to begin issuing citations for violations of the rule on this date. This can change if the Supreme Court tosses the rule out.
Both Erie County and New York State have issued indoor mask mandates, with exceptions allowed at venues that require proof of vaccination for entry. Employers should be mindful of these local/state rules when planning vaccination policy.
What Should Employers Do?
Keep preparing. Absent Supreme Court intervention, this rule will go into effect on January 10th. Employers should be prepared to implement this if the rule applies to them.
To help you prepare, the BNP hosted a seminar with a human resources expert. The presentation, available here, will address frequently asked questions.
Stay tuned for BNP updates on SCOTUS. Supreme Court action will determine whether OSHA will be enforcing this rule. As Justice Kavanaugh and the Court consider petitions, the BNP will keep you informed of any updates that affect its enforceability.
Small businesses can now apply for a new tax credit to help offset COVID-19 costs. The $250 million COVID-19 Capital Costs Tax Credit Program will cover up to 50% of eligible expenses, for a maximum benefit of $25,000.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (The Buffalo News) —Dottie Gallagher, president of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, said fears of random testing and possible quarantines in Ontario all worked to discourage significant aspects of the region’s integrated economy. She called the move “quite frankly, long overdue,” especially for those travelers discouraged to even try navigating requirements like ArriveCan.
The Public Health Agency of Canada announced it will lift all COVID-related restrictions on international travelers beginning this Saturday, October 1.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently released a report assessing the state Department of Labor’s workforce development efforts. The report found significant overlap, duplication, gaps, and fragmentation in state workforce development programs and services. The audit found that New York offers over 500 workforce development programs and services, administered