What Biden's Vaccine Mandate Means for Small Business Owners

Summary

A Biden Administration policy mandates all companies with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or weekly testing.

The policy will take effect on January 4, 2022.

A Biden Administration policy mandates all companies with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or weekly testing.

The policy will take effect on January 4, 2022.

Here's what we know about how this will impact small businesses.

Beginning January 4, the Biden Administration will mandate that all companies operating in the United States with 100 or more employees must require vaccines or weekly testing.

This is a firm shift in policy from earlier in the year when government guidelines allowed companies to require their workers to get vaccinated at their discretion. In April, President Biden incentivized small businesses with tax credits if they gave employees paid time off to get vaccinated.

Now the mandate, impacting 84 million workers, will require many small businesses to determine their own protocol and standards for employees to follow. Companies such as United Airlines, Disney, and Facebook mandated vaccines prior to the announcement.

The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is in charge of implementing this policy. At least 27 states have filed lawsuits to challenge the mandate, NPR reported.

Here's what we know so far.

We will be updating this post as new information becomes available.

OSHA will require all businesses with 100 or more employees to take one of two actions.

Require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Employers must also provide all employees with time off to receive the vaccination and recover from any side effects.

While vaccine mandates may make some employees more comfortable at their workplaces, AP reported some business owners are worried they will lose workers at a time companies have had hiring difficulties.

Or, require all employees to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis

If companies do not choose to require vaccinations, all workplace employees must get tested weekly for COVID-19 and wear masks while indoors.

Companies that break vaccine rules could be fined $13,600 per employee

OSHA will enforce the mandate by compliance, meaning employers are subject to inspections and anyone who does not follow the rules could have a complaint filed against them.

Companies that fail to comply with Biden's vaccine rules could face fines of $13,600 per employee, plus up to $136,532 for "willful violations," according to a White House briefing.

Exceptions are available for medical and religious reasons

There are exceptions for workers with medical conditions or religious reasons that prevent them from getting vaccinated.

Some labor unions and companies have criticized the measure and 22 states with their own workplace safety programs must come up with their own versions within 30 days.

Although small businesses with less than 100 employees are not required to follow this mandate, experts advise businesses of all sizes to write their own policies to ensure clear communication and set workplace expectations around vaccinations.

Anthony Martin, owner and CEO of life insurance company Choice Mutual, previously told Insider his policy making vaccines optional for his staff of 15 gave workers clarity on the issue. "Everybody was really appreciative that they didn't have to wonder whether or not this was going to be a problem," he said.

What Biden's Vaccine Mandate Means for Small Business Owners
Photo Credit: www.businessinsider.com

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