The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, at the direction of President Biden, published on Nov. 4 its highly anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard that mandates employers with 100 or more employees require vaccinations.
The deadline for large companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations or start weekly testing of their workers is Jan. 4. A month before then, by Dec. 5, the rule instructs employers to require masks for unvaccinated workers.
OSHA said the mandate applies to 84.2 million workers at 1.9 million private-sector employers. About 18.5 million workers for those employers are exempt because they either work remotely or outdoors. Some republican governors say the president is overstepping his authority and are expected to mount legal challenges to the rule.
What should vending operators know?
The National Automatic Merchandising Association offered these key points explaining the ETS:
- All employees are counted (whether full-time or part-time), but independent contractors are not counted.
- Employers are required to obtain acceptable proof of vaccination and maintain records for each employee’s vaccination status, including a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
- Employers are not required to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated employees who choose the weekly testing option (although nothing precludes an employer from paying for the cost of testing).
- Employers must provide employees with paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from negative side effects.
- The rule does not apply to telecommuting employees.
- The rule does not apply to employees who work exclusively outdoors.
- Unvaccinated employees must provide proof of a negative COVID test every 7 days.
NAMA senior director of external affairs Mike Goscinski explained that employers will be required to provide employees with information regarding the ETS requirements, along with workplace policies such as laws against providing false documents and protections against discrimination.
Goscinski added that NAMA is studying the ETS to determine the full extent of its impact on vending, micro market office coffee service operators. The association is expected to issue more information in the near future.
Founded in 1936 and headquartered in Arlington, VA, NAMA is the association representing the $31 billion U.S. convenience services industry.