‘This will be a full-time job for a member of our HR team’: Ky. business reacts to vaccine mandate

Tens of millions of American workers will be impacted by new COVID-19 requirements for employers.
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 4:21 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tens of millions of American workers will be impacted by new COVID-19 requirements for employers.

President Joe Biden had previously said workplace COVID requirements would be coming. Thursday, we learned what they are.

The US Department of Labor issued emergency temporary standard covering 84 million American workers.

Employers are asked to develop a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy, or take other steps. Attorney John Williams, who is an OSHA specialist, described them.

“Which is, if you do not have a mandatory vaccination policy, you’re going to have to implement weekly testing for unvaccinated workers and are going to have to comply with masking requirements in the workplace,” said Williams

Barbara Aker, at More Than A Bakery in Woodford County, tell us this is going to add a lot of extra work, not only for following those requirements, but also for keeping track of them.

“This will be a full-time job for a member of our HR team. With having to manage vaccine records and then, of course, if we’re going to have a test every week for any unvaccinated worker, I can’t quite wrap my head around how that’s gonna work yet,” Aker said.

The new rules apply for any employer with more that 100 employers who is subject to OSHA regulations. In Kentucky, that includes many public employees.

Chad Webb, the vice president of operations at More Than A Bakery, told us they were concerned it would make finding employees even more difficult.

“It certainly adds to the questions that people ask when they are looking for an employer. Or an employee for that matter,” Webb said.

Companies won’t be required to provide or pay for tests for unvaccinated workers, but they must give paid time off for employees to get the shots and sick leave to recover from side effects that prevent them from working.

Employers have until Dec. 5 to comply with most of the new requirements.

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