December 18, 2021

Biden administration pushes back compliance date for vaccine-or-test mandate

The Labor Department announced on Saturday that it was pushing back the date for businesses' compliance with its vaccine-or-test mandate following a federal appeals court ruling on Friday.

In a statement released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the administration said it was "gratified" by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit decision to reinstate its mandate.  

The measure, originally issued by OSHA in November, requires businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or frequent testing. The mandate impacts tens of millions of workers at private corporations across the United States. 

The Labor Department said in a statement on Saturday that “to provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance,” it would not be issuing any citations for businesses that were not in compliance with the emergency temporary standard before Jan. 10. 

Noncompliance citations regarding testing requirements would also not be issued before Feb. 9 “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard,” the department said.

The original mandate required that workers who are not fully vaccinated must be regularly tested after Jan. 4. The announcement from OSHA pushes that deadline back by one month. 

In November, a coalition of states challenged Biden administrations mandate for business, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a stay. 

The administration subsequently asked the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to reinstate the requirement.

In a win for the federal government, the 6th Circuit issued a decision on Friday to dissolve the 5th Circuit’s stay on the mandate, saying in its ruling that “OSHA has demonstrated the pervasive danger that COVID-19 poses to workers—unvaccinated workers in particular—in their workplaces.”

However, officials have already signaled that the 6th Circuit’s decision will be appealed.

"A bad decision by a left-leaning panel (Bush and Obama judges) of the 6th Cir. It’s un-American to force an unconst vax mandate on private biz, forcing people to choose b/w unemployment & an irreversible med procedure," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) tweeted on Friday. "I will immediately take this to SCOTUS to seek a reversal."

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