The first rule was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and covers companies with 100 or more employees. The rule requires employees of those companies to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week. Employers must pay employees paid time off to receive the vaccination and offer sick leave if an employee experiences side effects. Unvaccinated employees must cover the cost of testing if they take that option and must wear a mask on the job while indoors.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the second rule, which requires health care workers to be vaccinated by Jan. 4. Health care employees are not given the option to test each week. Any health care worker, clinical and non-clinical, that works for a health care facility that receives federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid must adhere to the rule.
On Friday following the announcement, 11 states sued the federal government. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit by Missouri and included Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. A federal appeals court panel temporarily blocked the order on Saturday, stating the petitions “give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate.”