Labor Department Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 Vaccine and Test Rule


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Nov. 30 extended the comment period for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard to Jan. 19, 2022. OSHA extended the comment period by 45 days to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment.

NATSO recently sent a letter to OSHA formally requesting a 60-day extension of the public comment period for the rule. In its letter NATSO said it is critical that OSHA provide stakeholders with sufficient time to thoroughly review the rule and its potential impacts on the workforce and the supply chain. 

OSHA’s announcement is further indication that the compliance deadline for the Emergency Temporary Standard is likely to be pushed back from the current January deadline. Nonetheless, NATSO members are advised to prepare to comply with the January deadline. 

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is leading an employer-lawsuit against OSHA's vaccine mandate. NFIB is joined by a handful of other large industry associations. NATSO supports the NFIB lawsuit. NATSO is actively engaging with litigants in that case and is hopeful that the emergency standard will be struck down.

NATSO also is considering a variety of options to ensure that the courts consider the unique role our industry plays in the supply chain, and the acute impact the vaccine mandate's implementation will have on our ability to hire and retain employees. The mandate's impact on our channel of commerce will percolate throughout the entire supply chain, exacerbating existing problems. Although the NFIB lawsuit will undoubtedly address these issues, we are preserving our ability to engage in actions that could focus exclusively on our industry's issues.

NATSO will continue to update members as well as provide resources related to the vaccine mandate. NATSO members may log in to access a high-level overview of the OSHA rule, known as the Emergency Temporary Standard, including information on which employees may be exempt, detail of the vaccination and testing policy, how to calculate employer size and other key requirements. NATSO members may log in here to access compliance documents. 

NATSO is partnering with NATSO allied member Chartwell Law for a webinar Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. EST. David Fialkov, NATSO’s executive vice president of government affairs, will update NATSO members on the current status of the vaccine mandate and NATSO’s most recent efforts on behalf of the industry. Robert J. Baker, shareholder, partner at Chartwell Law, and Thomas F. Gallagher, partner at Chartwell Law, will provide detailed information on the OSHA vaccine and testing requirements and advice on how to comply with the rule. The webinar is closed to press. NATSO members may still register here. 

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