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BRAC, businesses raise questions behind Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - We’re potentially weeks away before President Biden’s COVID action plan goes into effect, but a lot of businesses are still trying to figure out how this will work.

Last Thursday, President Biden announced that companies with 100 or more employees will have to get vaccinated or produce a weekly negative test.

The mandate will also require federal contractors and all entities that receive reimbursements from Medicare or Medicaid to get vaccinated. Additionally, employers must give their workers paid time off to get vaccinated and give up to two days off to recover from vaccine effects.

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, this will impact about 350 companies and nearly 56,000 employees in the Capital Region.

“We’ve been in communication with our partner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who has given us a lot of information. Basic facts. From here, we’re in more of a wait and see mode,” said Trey Godfrey, BRAC’S Senior VP of Policy.

BRAC issued fact sheets to start helping businesses adjust, but Godfrey said there is still some confusion behind the details and legality of the mandate.

“For instance, the 100-employee threshold, does that count all employees, or is that inclusive of full-time employees (FTEs)? Because that will impact several businesses in our region,” said Godfrey.

Godfrey said one of the biggest questions he’s heard, is who will foot the bill behind these weekly tests, and are there other options for businesses to choose from?

“What about independent contractors? Are they included in that 100-employee number or not? Are there other workable solutions? For instance, what about working from home instead of people being in the workplace,” said Godfrey.

Until they get those answers, Godfrey said they will continue to guide companies as they prepare for this transition.

“The more we learn, we’ll put ourselves in position to share with all of our partners and our investors,” said Godfrey.

Godfrey said the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) of the mandate is expected to go into effect within the next 3 to 5 weeks.

CLICK HERE for BRAC’s COVID-19 mandate facts.

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