COVID-19 - Workplace Update: Biden Executive Order (EO) Spotlights Incoming COVID-19 Requirements for Employers, Employees and Contractors

September 10, 2021

On Sept. 9, the Biden Administration issued a far-reaching Executive Order (EO) focused on COVID-19 requirements for several employment sectors. The most significant of the directives is a requirement that companies with 100 or more employees either ensure their employees are either vaccinated OR provide proof of at least a weekly COVID-19 negative test result, prior to an employee entering the workplace.


Before this requirement takes effect, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will need to publish an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which they have been directed to do as part of the EO. Outside of healthcare-connected industries, the forthcoming ETS would be the first legally binding and enforceable COVID-19 workplace requirement under OSHA's purview. The ETS will also inform of permissible employee testing procedures, vaccine verification, alongside all related OSHA recordkeeping and reporting requirements. In addition, the EO also directs employers to provide paid time off to employees so they may receive vaccinations.


A second Executive Order followed the broader one, and would require all federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure "Adequate COVID Safety Protocols." Guidance in this area is expected within seven days from the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce, and will be issued upon approval. 


Next Steps: There is no current timeframe for the ETS to be issued by OSHA. IAM will provide information once it is, along with details regarding legal challenges that may arise as a result. We will also report on any changes to guidance from the U.S. Department of Defense, as well other U.S. federal agencies that may be revised or newly issued as a result of the EO. 

For more information on the EO or if you have questions, please contact Bryan Vickers (703-403-2882, with IAM's Government and Regulatory Affairs Team.