The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which falls under the Labor Department, has submitted the text of a new vaccine rule for large employers to the Office of Management and Budget, bringing the emergency standard announced by President Joe Biden last month one step closer to taking effect.
"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working expeditiously to develop an emergency temporary standard that covers employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing to protect employees from the spread of coronavirus in the workplace," a Labor Department spokesman said Tuesday.
"On Tuesday, October 12, as part of the regulatory review process, the agency submitted the initial text of the emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget."
Once OMB concludes its review of the regulation, the emergency temporary standard will be published in the Federal Register, when it will go into effect.
Last month, Biden announced the Labor Department would draft an emergency rule compelling private companies with 100 or more employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing.
"While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We're in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile," the President said in a White House speech at the time.
The new emergency temporary standard will require large employers to give their workers paid time off to get vaccinated. If businesses don't comply, the government will "take enforcement actions," which could include "substantial fines" of up to nearly $14,000 per violation, according to officials.
Officials have said the standard was a "minimum" and that some companies may choose to go further, including by mandating the vaccine instead of offering a testing alternative.
"Each employer will decide exactly what they want to do, but what we're saying through the Department of Labor rule making process is a minimum of testing once a week or full vaccination," a senior administration official previously told CNN.
About a quarter of the eligible US population remains unvaccinated against the coronavirus and the rate of people getting booster shots is now outpacing the rate of people getting their first doses.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN this week that there is evidence that mandates are working in academic settings and at corporations such as airlines.
"So, although you'd like people to do it on their own accord, sometimes mandates actually can help in that regard -- as sensitive an issue as that is, it is really getting people more vaccinated," he said.
This story has been updated with additional information Tuesday.
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