19 Questions Companies Need Answered on the Vaccine Mandate
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the urgency for increased vaccination. President Joe Biden’s announcement in September that private sector companies with 100 or more employees must require vaccination or weekly testing was one of the most significant steps in moving toward higher vaccination rates.
Consumer Brands and the food, beverage, household cleaning and personal care companies it represents supports the goal of increased vaccination rates. As a human-powered industry that has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver for American consumers, we appreciate the need for a healthy and reliable workforce.
The CPG industry is gearing up to achieve the goal of increasing vaccination rates. The majority (60%) of CPG companies surveyed by Consumer Brands report already beginning draft plans to implement Biden’s vaccine requirements.
While the industry is supportive of higher vaccination rates, the uncertainty that has brewed in the weeks since Biden’s announcement has led to 87% of companies expressing concern about what the vaccine requirements will mean for their ability to attract and retain workers. The success of the mandate hinges on the government providing clear, detailed guidance on the questions the CPG industry is asking on behalf of its employees.
Below are 19 of the most pressing questions that Consumer Brands shared with OSHA. It is our hope and expectation that the final rule will address these questions and we appreciate the administration’s cooperation in providing answers.
- What is considered documentation for proof of vaccination and how will booster vaccinations be factored into compliance?
- Must an employee be “fully vaccinated” in order to work?
- How will the requirements address natural immunity? Will individuals that have contracted COVID-19 be required to be vaccinated or submit to testing requirements?
- Will the requirements only apply to vaccines that are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration?
- Does the government have plans to centralize vaccination tracking or is it the responsibility of businesses to manage?
- What are the consequences of falsifying one’s vaccination status and does responsibility rest with the individual or employer?
- Is there a single testing standard that must be met that would be considered compliant to the negative test result requirement?
- What are the consequences of falsifying test results and does responsibility rest with the individual or employer?
- What is considered suitable documentation of a negative test result?
- For how long will documentation of test results need to be held?
- If an employee takes a COVID-19 test but the results are not yet available, is the employee allowed to continue to work pending the results?
- Will business testing programs that test all employees on site throughout the day meet the requirements for unvaccinated workers need to test “before coming to work”?
- Should employees choose not to vaccinate, is the company or employee responsible for securing and paying for testing? Will paid time off be required for weekly testing requirements?
- When will the requirements be formally issued and what is the timeline for compliance?
- How does this mandate impact locations with collective bargaining and existing collective bargaining agreements?
- Will this federal requirement preempt existing state-imposed obligations?
- Will the federal requirements supersede state expense reimbursement statutes?
- Do the new federal requirements include exemptions based on sincerely held religious beliefs and disabilities?
- Will waivers be allowed if essential employee absences or attrition cause significant disruption to the CPG supply chain?
Published on November 3, 2021
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