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OSHA Vaccine Mandate Doesn’t Include Independent Contractors

All U.S. companies with 100+ employees must confirm employees’ vaccination status or have them supply a negative COVID-19 test once per week starting Jan. 4, 2022 – but the rule likely won’t affect most Fla. RE brokerages.

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration officially announced mandatory vaccination rules for employees, an “Emergency Temporary Standard” (ETS), on Thursday. Effective Jan. 4, 2022, employers with 100 employees or more must either assure that they’re vaccinated or, alternately, have unvaccinated employees present a negative COVID-19 test once per week.

However, the new rule from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should have little impact on most Florida brokerages, because the language says, “Part-time employees do count towards the company total, but independent contractors do not.”

Since most brokerages operate with less than 100 employees and a larger roster of independent contractors, the real estate industry should feel only a minor impact from OSHA’s announcement.

OSHA produced an overview of the new requirements in the ETS on its website.

A release put out by the White House listed primary requirements under the new mandate:

  • Get employees vaccinated by Jan. 4 and require unvaccinated employees to produce a negative test on at least a weekly basis: Vaccination means either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. After that, all covered employers must ensure that any employees who have not received the necessary shots produce a verified negative test to their employer at least weekly. The ETS explains the variety of tests that comply with the standard.
  • Pay employees for the time it takes to get vaccinated: The rules require time off to get the vaccine plus “if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects.”
  • Ensure all unvaccinated employees are masked
  • Compliance: Requirements for employer reporting and recordkeeping are spelled out in the OSHA materials.

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