On Monday, Jan. 3, MNOSHA became the first state in the nation to adopt the federal OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for large employers.
The ETS covers large employers with 100 or more employees and requires that large employers develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.
The ETS does not apply to employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals, such as coworkers or customers are present, employees while they are working from home or employees who work exclusively outdoors.
The ETS also requires:
- Employers to support vaccination by providing employees reasonable time, including up to four hours of paid time to receive each primary vaccination dose, and reasonable time and paid sick leave to recover from side effects experienced following these doses.
- Employers must require employees to provide notice if they contract COVID-19 and remove those employees from the workplace until they meet the criteria for returning to work. The ETS also contains requirements for:
- Employers provide certain information to employees in a language and at a literacy level the employees understand; reporting work-related COVID-19 fatalities and hospitalizations to OSHA; and recordkeeping.
MNOSHA is hosting a webinar on Friday, Jan. 7 from 10-11 AM. Register here.
According to a notice sent out earlier this week, “MNOSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before Jan. 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before Feb. 9, as long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.”
Legal Challenges To ETS
Legal challenges to the ETS have been working through the Federal Courts system. The Fifth Circuit Court had previously placed a stay on the implementation of the mandate, but the stay was lifted on Dec. 21, 2021, by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “The U.S. Court of Appeals decision dissolving the stay of the ETS has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, MNOSHA said on its website. “MNOSHA will react accordingly to further judicial determination as the current litigation makes its way through the process.”
For more information, visit the MNOSHA website.