OSHA extends comment period for vaccine-or-test rule for businesses

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The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended the comment period for the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test mandate for private employers.

OSHA extended the comment period by 45 days, to Jan. 19, "to allow stakeholders additional time to review the [emergency temporary standard] and collect information and data necessary for comment," the regulatory agency said Nov. 30 in a news release.

On Nov. 5, OSHA issued the vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard covering businesses with 100 or more employees.

Businesses covered by the emergency temporary standard must put in place a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work, according to OSHA. Under the rule, employers also must provide paid time off to workers to get inoculated and provide paid leave to employees to recover from any side effects of being vaccinated.

On Nov. 12, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a stay blocking the emergency temporary standard. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals now has jurisdiction over lawsuits challenging the rule, and on Nov. 23, the Justice Department filed an emergency court motion seeking to lift the stay.

OSHA, on its webpage about the rule, notes that the comment period is separate from the litigation.

Comments may be submitted here via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. More details about the rule are available in the Federal Register notice.

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