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How will the new vaccine mandate for businesses work?

We’ve heard about the Biden administrations vaccine mandate approaching for businesses with more than 100 employees, but there’s still many questions to be answered about the technicalities of the order and the implementation status.
Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 4:22 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Businesses and agencies across the country are preparing for the pending regulations from Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, administered by President Joe Biden.

The regulations will include businesses with more than 100 employees having to be fully vaccinated or take a COVID test every week.

The Department of Labor is finishing the rule and it can be expected to be put in place within the near future.

But businesses have already been implementing their own vaccine policy.

“We have other things that are coming up that have not been finalized yet that I think certain organizations will be subject to those will be taking preliminary compliance efforts to just say hey this is coming, we know we are going to be subject to this mandate so let’s just start developing our policies and procedures now,” said Jennifer Frank, chairholder at Lynn Jackson law firm.

OSHA was implemented in 1970 to ensure working conditions around the country are safe. However, almost half of the nation has opted out of the OSHA program, administering their own workplace safety program following minimum federal standards.

“South Dakota has not opted out, it follows the federal rule, OSHA has jurisdiction here so this is definitely coming,” said Joseph Anthony Malizia, attorney at Goodsell and Oviatt law firm.

There are two ways an employee can legally defy the OSHA emergency temporary standard, religious or disability exemption. Franks says unemployment rates shouldn’t be affected by the new mandate due to Rapid City housing many small businesses and the presence of an option.

“It is not requiring vaccinations, it requires a vaccination or a weekly test, there’s a very big difference,” said Malizia.

So far, only federal employees and contractors are required to get vaccinated.

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