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New federal vaccine requirements to impact millions of American workers

New federal vaccine requirements to impact millions of American workers
Posted at 10:58 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 06:32:10-04

BALTIMORE — President Joe Biden issued executive orders Thursday, mandating vaccines for federal workers and contractors.

The president will also require companies with more than 100 employees to mandate the vaccine.

The new rules will impact millions of American workers.

“I think it is the necessary thing to do to get us out of this pandemic,” said Lucas Kiel.

On several occasions, the president has blamed the unvaccinated for a rise in cases fueled by the delta variant.

Nearly 40 percent of eligible Americans are not fully vaccinated.

“People do have personal rights, but you don’t have the right to make other people sick,” said Sarah, who did not want to give her last name.

Joyce Smithey, who is a labor and employment attorney at the Smithey Law Group, said the order is not an “overreach.”

She said employers had the legal right to mandate the vaccine even before the president’s order.

“I think a labor shortage has caused some employers to be reluctant more than legal clarity that has been there for months,” she said.

The new requirement will allow employees of large companies to have the option to submit to weekly testing, but federal workers and government contractors will not.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will work to put a rule in place for private businesses, which will carry penalties of $14,000 per violation.

“This is going to go through quickly. There won’t be public comment solicited and they’re only allowed to do that when there’s a grave danger to employees, but I think that there’s enough evidence out there, in particular to the unvaccinated that it is a grave danger to that population,” she said.

Smithey said her office has been flooded with calls challenging vaccine mandates. She said she now expects even more.

"And with this, that was my other reaction when I heard it was brace ourselves for the number of calls that are going to come in from employees looking to fight this.”

The rule will also require large companies to provide paid time off for vaccinations.

Smithey said at this moment there’s no guidance on how that should be implemented as well as how companies will carry out testing.

She said there are still a lot of questions about the order, which she hopes will get answered in the weeks to come.