The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its regulations regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for employers that employ 100 or more employees. You can read the full regulations here: The release by OSHA can be found here:

Key Provisions of the Emergency Temporary Standard: 

Who does this ETS apply to? 

  • The emergency temporary standard covers employers with 100 or more employees – firm or company-wide – and provides options for compliance. 

What does the ETS require? 

  • Requires Covered Employers to determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee's vaccination status.
  • Requires Covered Employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status; employers must not allow them to return to work until they meet required criteria.
  • Requires Covered Employers to ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer).
  • Requires Covered Employers to ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.

Can Covered Employees apply for religious or medical exemptions? 

  • Yes, and the Covered Employer should make a determination about whether the Covered Employer can reasonably accommodate the exemption or if the exemption presents an undue hardship or direct threat. 

How does the ETS interact with the recent law signed by Governor Reynolds regarding employer waiver of vaccine mandates?

(HF 902, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 29, 2021)

  • OSHA states that the ETS preempts the new Iowa law, meaning the OSHA regulations override the new state law: “This ETS preempts States, and political subdivisions of States, from adopting and enforcing workplace requirements relating to the occupational safety and health issues of vaccination, wearing face coverings, and testing for COVID-19, except under the authority of a Federally-approved State Plan. In particular, OSHA intends for the ETS to preempt and invalidate any State or local requirements that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, face covering, or testing. State and local requirements that prohibit employers from implementing employee vaccination mandates, or from requiring face coverings in workplaces, serve as a barrier to OSHA’s implementation of this ETS, and to the protection of America’s workforce from COVID-19.” 

Does the ETS require Covered Employers to pay for time for employees to get their vaccines? 

  • Yes, the ETS requires Covered Employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and to allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects.

Does the ETS required Covered Employers to pay for testing or face coverings? 

  • No, the ETS does not require employers to pay for testing. Employers may be required to pay for testing to comply with other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other collectively negotiated agreements. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings.

When does the ETS go into effect? 

  • Generally, Covered Employers will need to have a plan in place within 30 days from today and start ensuring that employees that are not vaccinated are tested at least once a week within 60 days. Because Iowa has an OSHA-approved State Plan this deadlines may be slightly extended, however, Covered Employers at this point should plan to meet the 30- and 60-day deadlines. 

What are your next steps? 

  1. Determine whether the ETS applies to your organization.
  2. Put into place policies and procedures to implement the ETS and policies and procedures to collect and evaluate any requested exemptions.

Contact Us:
Please contact one of our employment law attorneys with questions about whether this ETS applies to your organization, what policies and procedures you need to put into place and what you must do to collect and evaluate exemption requests. 

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Erin R. Nathan
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(319) 896-4013


Disclaimer: This information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied on as legal advice. Please consult your attorney if specific legal information is desired.

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