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OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a federal emergency temporary standard (ETS) on November 4, 2021. The ETS establishes certain requirements for large employers, those with 100 or more employees, in order to protect unvaccinated workers. Large employers are required to comply with most ETS provisions by December 5, 2021, and its testing requirements by January 4, 2022. States are given 30 days to adopt the federal ETS or carry out their own vaccination standard.  

ETS Requirements

The vaccination status of every employee must be provided to employers. Employers are required to create and maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status including proof of vaccination as applicable.  Employers must also either create and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy or implement a policy forcing employees to choose between receiving the vaccination or wearing a face covering at work whilst being subject to weekly Covid-19 testing.

For unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated employees, weekly testing must occur before returning to work. Employers are not mandated by the ETS to pay for testing costs; however, other laws, regulations, or collective negotiated agreements may require employers to pay for testing.

ETS Exemptions

The ETS does not apply to those who do not work with other individuals present, work from home, or work exclusively outdoors. Employees covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, employers with less than 100 employees, and public employers in states without State plans are also exempted from the ETS requirements.

Paid Leave

In the case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19, the employee must provide notice of a positive COVID-19 test immediately and will be removed from work until return-to-work criteria are met.

Employees will receive up to 4 hours of paid leave to receive a primary vaccination dose. In the case of adverse side effects of the vaccination, reasonable time and paid sick leave will be provided by employers.


Employers should continue to monitor OSHA communications as the ETS can be updated or amended. For frequently asked questions on the ETS, click here.

Should you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact Creative Benefits, Inc. at 866-306-0200 or solutions@creativebenefitsinc.com.