Here’s everything small businesses need to know about Biden’s vaccine mandate

Joe biden
President Joe Biden delivers remarks from the White House. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • A policy from the Biden Administration mandates all companies with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or weekly testing.
  • The Department of Labor’s OSHA is expected to release further guidance in the coming days.
  • Here’s what we know so far.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden Administration will mandate that all companies operating in the United States with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or weekly testing.

This is a firm shift in policy from months ago when government guidelines allowed companies to require their workers to get vaccinated at their discretion. In April, President Biden incentivized small businesses with tax credits if they gave employees paid time off to get vaccinated.

Now the mandate, impacting over 80 million workers, will require many small businesses to determine their own protocol and standards for employees to follow. Companies such as United Airlines, Disney, and Facebook have mandated vaccines prior to the Thursday announcement.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is in charge of implementing this policy and is expected to release further guidance in the coming days, including when the mandate will take effect.

Here’s what we know so far.

We will be updating this post as new information becomes available.

OSHA will require all businesses with 100 or more employees to take one of two actions.

Require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Employers must also provide all employees with time off to receive the vaccination and recover from any side effects.

While vaccine mandates may make some employees more comfortable at their workplaces, AP reported some business owners are worried they will lose workers at a time companies have had hiring difficulties.

Or, require all employees to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis

If companies do not choose to require vaccinations, they must have all employees get tested weekly for COVID-19. It is unclear how testing will be recorded and tracked by OSHA to ensure companies are following this protocol.

Exceptions are unclear until further guidance is released

It is also unclear whether this mandate applies to employees who are solely working remote or what exclusions apply for workers with religious or health concerns. Labor unions and companies have criticized the measure and several legal concerns could overturn the policy.

Although Small businesses with less than 100 employees are not required to follow this mandate, experts advise businesses of all sizes to write their own policies to ensure clear communication and set workplace expectations around vaccinations.

Anthony Martin, owner and CEO of life insurance company Choice Mutual, previously told Insider his policy making vaccines optional for his staff of 15 gave workers clarity on the issue. “Everybody was really appreciative that they didn’t have to wonder whether or not this was going to be a problem,” he said.