OSHA officially ends vaccine-or-test rule for big employers

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is officially ending its emergency temporary standard that required COVID vaccinations or weekly tests in workplaces with 100 or more employees.

The change goes into effect starting Wednesday.

The news comes after the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that OSHA didn’t have the authority to require such mandates for businesses.

The department made clear that while the mandate, which was issued Nov. 5, is being removed, they still recommend businesses follow its guidelines.

“OSHA strongly encourages vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

In early November, OSHA announced the vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with at least 100 employees. The rule, which would have impacted more than 80 million U.S. workers, was originally set to go into effect Jan. 4.

But numerous states and business groups challenged the rule in court and the Supreme Court halted the plan Jan. 13. In a 6-3 ruling, the court’s conservative majority concluded that OSHA had overstepped its authority.

“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress,″ the court’s majority wrote. ”Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here.”

The justices left in place a vaccine mandate for health care providers who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. That rule affects 10.4 million workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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