On September 9, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that, in addition to rules for federal workers and contractors, his administration would be implementing a rule requiring private businesses with more than 100 employees to require their staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This rule was announced on Thursday, November 4, by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a subdepartment of the U.S. Department of Labor.
The rule, the Summary of which states the purpose is to “encourage” workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19, does require employers to develop and implement programs that require the employees to receive such a vaccine. Employers do have the option to allow for employees to be tested regularly instead of having to receive the vaccine.
Employers who do not comply with the new rule will incur a fine of $14,000 per employee that has not met the standards.
As the proposal is a rule and not a law to be passed by Congress, it is subject to a public comment period before it can be implemented. This period lasts 31 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register and is open until December 6, 2021.
Those wishing to have their voice heard on the proposed rule can do so via the regulations.gov website. By visiting this website and searching for Docket No. OSHA-2021-0007, one can locate the proposed rule and submit a comment.
Whether in favor of or opposed to the proposed rule and requirements, comments from the populace are important to providing OSHA with an understanding of how the People view this proposal.
In a government “of the People, by the People, and for the People,” the government needs to be aware of what the People expect of their government to be successful. They can only do this when the People speak up and let their voices be heard.