New federal COVID-19 safety regulations exempt most employers

In a file photo on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, healthcare professionals are watching a rally of nurses from the New York Elders Church and Mount Sinai’s New York State Nurses Association over the elevated Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The Byden administration exempted most employers from the long-awaited rules to protect workers from the coronavirus and angered labor advocates who have been lobbying for protection for over a year. The new emergency temporary standards announced on Thursday, June 10, 2021 include only medical personnel. Credits: AP Photo / Mary Altaffer, File

The Byden administration exempted most employers from the long-awaited rules to protect workers from the coronavirus and angered labor advocates who had been lobbying for protection for over a year.

Ministry of Labor Health care workers With the new emergency temporary standards announced on Thursday.

This rule requires employers to develop antivirus plans and tighten requirements for recording and reporting COVID-19 cases among employees. Employers are also demanding that workers be provided with paid leave for COVID-19-related absenteeism, such as being vaccinated and recovering from the side effects of shots.

The Biden administration has released new non-binding guidance that relaxes some recommendations rather than issuing mandatory rules to other workplaces. According to guidance issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency responsible for worker protection, most workplaces where people are fully vaccinated do not need to provide protection from the coronavirus.Separately orderThe Biden government has also lifted the 25% cap on employers’ capacity in federal buildings, while maintaining a flexible remote work policy.

This decision is because many stores and other businesses have already relaxed masks and other protection policies in response to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it’s also a step back from previous suggestions that President Joe Biden would overturn the Trump administration, which refused to issue mandatory protection rules for workers.

The new standard “represents the sickness at the forefront of this pandemic, breaking promises to millions of American workers in grocery stores and meat factories that died,” said the United Food and Commercial Workers. Mark Peronne, chairman of the Commercial Workers’ Union, represents 1.3. One million workers said in a statement.

Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA employee and now working on a national employment law project, said the new rules couldn’t protect many low-wage workers, including slaughterhouse employees who work side-by-side on the production line. Said.

“We are pleased that OSHA has finally moved to protect health care workers, but we are disappointed that we have not been able to protect all other workers at risk,” Berkowitz said. Was.

Mr. Biden signed an executive order shortly after taking office, giving OSHA to issue rules by March 15, raising expectations for urgent standards covering all workplaces, but the Ministry of Labor has raised expectations for that deadline. The situation surrounding Pandemic has changed, vaccination rates have risen, and the CDC has relaxed its own guidance on distance and masking.

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh mentioned the changing reality and new CDC guidance at a House Education and Labor Commission hearing on Tuesday, where he wondered why standards do not cover non-medical workers. Faced with a question from a member of the Diet.

OSHA had no rules for workplaces to deal with disease epidemics on a pandemic scale. While some state agencies have issued temporary emergency standards, the Trump administration has only issued guidance on how employers can protect workers.

Labor advocates hoped that the new federal standards would indicate Biden’s efforts to strengthen OSHA, with few inspections and few citations over COVID-related complaints. Has been criticized.

In a statement, House Rep. Bobby Scott, Democratic Chairman of the House Education and Labor Commission, criticized the new standard as “too few and too late for countless workers and families across the country.”

OSHA said the six-month standard is justified for health care workers because the virus poses a “grave risk” to health care workers. Authorities said it was about 500,000 as of May 24. He said that human health care workers were infected with the virus, of which more than 1,600 died.

Jonathan Snaire, a former Deputy Secretary of State for OSHA during the George W. Bush administration, said that when issuing emergency extraordinary standards, federal oversight agencies pose a “grave danger” to the situation. Snaire, a partner at Philadelphia-based global law firm Morgan Lewis, said he had to prove that the Byden administration would impose strict regulations when the pandemic began to recede. He said he was likely to feel that he might face legal challenges from his workplace.

However, many employers have wanted a set of solid rules since the pandemic began, said Brian Klopp, head of research at consulting firm Gartner’s Human Resources department. The latest non-binding guidance adds uncertainty, especially when companies are wondering when and how to return their employees to the office, Klopp said.

For example, very few companies plan to ask their employees about their vaccination status before returning to work. This makes it harder for businesses to determine if they can lower safety standards for vaccinated employees, Klopp said. The new guidelines require employers to stay away and provide masks to unvaccinated employees, customers and visitors.

“Employers want simplicity and clarity, and strict and swift rules that they can follow,” Klopp said. “This allows us to say that we are simply following the rules, rather than having a difficult conversation with the employee about a series of activities. This allows the employee to hand over money.”

Even vaccinated California workers may need to keep wearing masks

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Quote: The new Federal COVID-19 Safety Regulations exempt most employers (June 11, 2021). Obtained from on June 11, 2021

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New federal COVID-19 safety regulations exempt most employers

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