The White House issued new federal regulation that gave a January 4 deadline for companies to comply with a vaccine mandate.
Employers in the private sector will have around two months to have all their employees vaccinated. Otherwise, they will have to subject workers to weekly testing.
Complete Vaccine Mandate By January 4 Or Face Penalties
The vaccine mandate will affect an estimated 84 million Americans or two-thirds of the country’s entire labor force. After January 4, any employer who fails to comply faces $14,000 in fines for every unvaccinated employee.
Starting December 5 companies will need to provide paid time off for workers to get the vaccines. In addition, paid time leave will also cover recovery periods from any side effects.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated employees will need to wear masks at work beginning December 5. These workers will also be on the hook for the costs of weekly COVID-19 testing.
The federal regulations support an earlier executive order issued by President Joe Biden last September. The EO mandates that all businesses with 100 or more employees should have all workers fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
Earlier, the White House also issued a separate order mandating government agencies and health care industries to support full vaccination among its workers.
A rash of outbreaks from the delta variants overwhelmed many hospitals and health centers and led to a surge of deaths last summer.
Republican Attorneys General Will Lead The Fight Against Vaccine Mandates
Months before the January 4 deadline, dozens of Republican attorneys general are threatening to hit the federal government with lawsuits against the mandates.
Some businesses also raised concerns about getting enough vaccinated workers for their needs. The job market remains tight as many workers are thumbing down job openings in favor of higher pay or better conditions.
However, the White House insists the vaccine mandates will help the country long term. Voluntary mandates imposed by major US companies are increasing the vaccination rates nationwide.
For example, United Airlines reported that 99% of all their workers completed their vaccination program. “As we’ve seen with businesses — large and small — across all sectors of our economy, the overwhelming majority of Americans choose to get vaccinated,” Biden said in a statement Thursday.
“There have been no ‘mass firings’ and worker shortages because of vaccination requirements. Despite what some predicted and falsely asserted, vaccination requirements have broad public support.”
White House Has Authority To Protect Workers
In addition, the federal government plans to challenge the lawsuits filed by Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa. Administration officials say they are confident they have a strong legal footing.
They’re only imposing vaccine mandates to ensure a safe workplace. “The administration clearly has the authority to protect workers and the actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop the spread of Covid,” said White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“The DOJ will be defining these laws. This is a once-in-a-generation pandemic; as we know, it’s taken more than 740,000 lives. And that’s what we’re trying to do here in this administration, we’re trying to save lives.”
Watch the NBC News video reporting that the Biden White House sets January 4 deadline for employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate:
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