December 29, 2021

Coronavirus vaccine mandate guidance overview

ComplianceAs the Omicron coronavirus variant surges and officials work to provide guidance on how to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus, NAFCU continues to share regulatory compliance updates on the vaccine mandates. President Joe Biden late September announced an emergency temporary standard (ETS) vaccine mandate for federal government contractors and for employers with 100+ employees. 

In a Compliance Blog post, NAFCU’s Regulatory Compliance Team covered the Department of Labor’s (DOL) issued guidance for federal contractors to clarify the scope of the mandate. The blog post highlights the DOL’s definitions of specific terms and requirements that fit into three categories: vaccinating employees, masking and social distancing, and designating compliance staff. Of note, the mandate also requires both a vaccine requirement as well as face covering/testing requirement for unvaccinated employees. 

Since its issuance, the mandate has been met with opposition through several ongoing court cases around the country, with some saying alleging that Biden overstepped his constitutional authority to issue the mandate. South Georgia U.S. District Judge Stan Barker issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate on federal contractors earlier this month; federal judges from Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee also joined in blocking the mandate. A handful of Republican officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp, R-Ga., also filed lawsuits to halt the mandate through the courts. Compliance with the federal contractor mandate is stayed pending the outcome of the case. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in November released its vaccine mandate for employers with 100+ employees, which does not apply to those employers covered by the previous federal contractor vaccine mandate. Similar to the federal contractor mandate, the rule has both a vaccine mandate and face covering/testing requirement for unvaccinated employees like those who qualify for medical or religious exemption. It also requires employers to develop a policy implementing the various elements of the mandate and to determine employees’ vaccine status. 

There are several compliance deadlines set for the large employer mandate, including a Jan. 10 deadline to comply with the requirements listed under the ETS including determining covered employer status, vaccine policies and procedures, and more. The Supreme Court is currently set to address the executive order for employers with 100 or more employees in an oral argument on Jan. 7, only three days before some of the compliance deadlines for the OSHA ETS. Credit unions that may be covered employers under the mandate should prepare to comply with the ETS by the deadline. Credit unions who do not take steps to complete said compliance requirements risk being out of compliance, especially if the Supreme Court holds that the ETS vaccine mandate is valid.

More details on the ETS requirements for employers with 100 or more employees can be found on the NAFCU Compliance Blog. NAFCU continues to monitor the latest on the vaccine mandate updates and will continue to provide credit unions with the most up-to-date guidance on compliance requirements.

Stay tuned to NAFCU’s Compliance Blog and NAFCU Today to get the latest on COVID-19 news and resources.