Jan 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers

Picture of someone vaccinating an arm
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that it is withdrawing the Biden administration's temporary COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

The big picture: OSHA said it made the decision to withdraw the mandate following the Supreme Court's decision blocking the rule.

  • OSHA does not have the power to "regulate public health more broadly," the court said. "Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."

Catch up fast: The administration's mandate, which was issued in November, said that companies with more than 100 workers must require their employees to either get vaccinated or tested every week.

Details: The "Department of Labor’s [OSHA] is withdrawing the vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard issued on Nov. 5, 2021, to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers with 100 or more employees from workplace exposure to coronavirus," OSHA said in a statement.

  • "OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace."
  • The withdrawal will become effective on Jan. 26.

What they're saying: "OSHA has affirmed that its withdrawal does not affect the ETS’s continuing status as a proposed rule," a Labor Department spokesperson told Axios.

  • "OSHA is evaluating the record and the evolving course of the pandemic. OSHA has made no determinations at this time about when or if it will finalize a Vaccination and Testing rule. The agency intends to work expeditiously to issue a final standard that will protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 hazards."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a comment from the Labor Department spokesperson.

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