Which Companies Qualify and Is It Legal? What You Know – NBC Chicago

The federal government on Thursday announced new vaccine requirements for workers at companies with more than 100 employees and also for health care workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid.

Millions of U.S. workers now have a January 4 deadline to receive a COVID vaccine. The deadline also applies to federal contractors.

The Biden administration says 70% of all adult Americans are now fully vaccinated. The new rules target the tens of millions who remain unvaccinated.

Here’s what you need to know about the new rules:

WHAT SHOULD COMPROMISES DO?

Companies with 100 or more employees must require those workers to be fully vaccinated – by two shots of the Modern or Pfizer vaccines, or one shot by Johnson & Johnson – by January 4th.

After that date, each employee who remains unvaccinated must provide a controlled negative COVID test on a weekly basis. Companies don’t have to pay for those tests. Unvaccinated employees must also wear masks.

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE, WHAT WORK AT HOME?

The requirements do not apply to people who work at home or who work outside.

WILL WORKERS HAVE TIME TO BE VACCINATED?

As of December 5, employers must offer paid leave for workers to be vaccinated and sick leave if workers experience vaccine side effects.

HOW WILL THIS BE EFFORTED?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will assist companies with vaccination plans. It will also comply with the rules. Fines for non-compliance vary depending on company size and other factors, but companies may have to pay up to $ 13,653 per individual violator.

But fulfillment will be difficult. OSHA has only about 1,850 inspectors to oversee 130 million workers at 8 million companies.

IS THIS LEGAL?

OSHA says it is on a good legal basis, and has the authority to issue rules that protect workers from imminent health hazards. It also says the rules precede every state law. Several states and Republican governors have threatened to sue, claiming the government does not have the power to make such rules.

About 100 million workers are categorized under President Biden’s new vaccine mandate because they work for companies that employ more than 100 people. But that mandate goes much further than the federal government has gone before. NBC10’s Mitch Blacher spoke with a legal expert about the claim.

WHAT ABOUT LITTLE COMPANIES?

OSHA said Thursday that the mandate could be extended to companies with less than 100 employees. The agency said it will make a decision after collecting public comments on that proposal over the next 30 days.

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR HEALTHY ORGANISTS?

Healthcare workers treating Medicaid and Medicare patients must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. There is no weekly test option for these workers, but they may apply for religious or medical exemptions. The mandate will cover about 17 million health workers in hospitals, nursing homes, surgical centers and other facilities.

WHAT ABOUT FEDERAL CONTRACTS?

In September, the Biden administration said it would require employees at federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8. On Thursday, the government postponed that deadline to January 4th.

Some people would rather quit their job than get a vaccine against COVID-19, and argue about freedom or choice when they reject a shot. But we’ve had compulsory vaccinations in schools and different industries for decades that haven’t generated a major protest, says Dr. Alok Patel. “Where have all these people been in the last 20 years?” he asks.

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