Biden To Require Paid Time Off For COVID-19 Vaccinations

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Talks are underway with Moderna over use of the vaccine formula, which is protected by patents
Talks are underway with Moderna over use of the vaccine formula, which is protected by patents

A Biden administration official said Monday that the federal government will require highly staffed companies to provide paid time off for those who need to get the COVID-19 vaccination as well as provide paid sick leave in their recovery from any side effects.

“Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose either to get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work,” a Labor Department spokesperson told the Associated Press.  

Side effects like fatigue, joint pains and headaches, are not uncommon after receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of the manufacturer. Some employers allow time off as a way to encourage their employees to get vaccinated, but there is no uniform requirement for them to do so. 

In separate guidance to employers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that they offer "nonpunitive sick leave options" like paid sick leave to those who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of vaccine side effects.

On Sept. 9, President Biden announced an executive order that required employers with 100 or more workers to vaccinate their workforce or require weekly testing for unvaccinated employees. The White House estimates that if fully implemented, the new mandate will cover over 100 million American workers. 

A key part of implementing the mandate is the OSHA rule to guide employers, which the agency submitted a draft rule for to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for consideration on Oct. 12. According to the Labor Department spokesperson, the rule has been finalized and will be released in its entirety at some point this week. 

This update follows new guidance issued on Monday to federal contractors to help ensure their compliance with the vaccine mandate. Under those rules, employers were allowed leeway in determining how they handle workers who refuse vaccinations as well as an additional room to vaccinate their workforce past the Dec. 8 deadline set out in Biden's executive order. 

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