November 5, 2021

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Vaccine mandates will be required starting Jan. 4

This week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fulfilled its promise to provide further guidance on vaccines. The newly issued emergency temporary standard states that starting Jan. 4, 2022, employers with 100-plus employees will be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccination:

The Biden administration on Thursday set Jan. 4 as the deadline for large companies to mandate coronavirus vaccinations or start weekly testing of their workers, the government’s biggest effort yet to enlist private businesses in combating the virus.

The new rule, applying to companies with 100 or more employees, is expected to cover 84 million workers, roughly 31 million of whom are unvaccinated.

This means employers have roughly two months to implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in their workplaces and to start offering weekly testing alternatives to those who refuse or are unable to receive a vaccine.

Here’s what else we know so far:

  • According to HR Dive, all full-time or part-time employees across any US locations count toward a company’s total, but independent contractors and remote and outdoor workers do not. 
  • By Dec. 5, 2021, covered employers are mandated to require unvaccinated workers to wear masks in the workplace.
  • Employers must also provide up to four hours of paid leave for employees to get vaccinated or recover from the side effects starting Dec. 5. For employees who choose to remain unvaccinated, employers are not required to pay for regular testing, though they can opt to.
  • Employers are required to maintain a record of “acceptable proof of vaccination” for each vaccinated employee, like a vaccination card or proof from a medical provider.

The January timing was meant to allow businesses leeway for staffing during the holiday shopping season–however, preparations will still need to be made in the lead up to the deadline. And bear in mind that violations or failure to comply with OSHA standards can result in fines.

That said, the new rule has met with opposition from several business groups citing hardships, especially during this busy season. We’ll be keeping an eye on any further developments—stay tuned.

Social Security tax is about to increase

Here’s another January date to keep in mind—on January 1, 2022, the maximum amount of an individual’s earnings that will be subject to Social Security tax is set to increase from 2021’s cap of $142,800 to $147,000. This increases the maximum amount that employers can be subjected to pay in Social Security taxes to $9,114 per employee.

To learn more about how this increase can affect you and your employees, read our full guide.

5 tips for leading a hybrid team

Being a great leader isn’t easy, but we can all probably agree that it was easier when everyone was under the same roof. With teams increasingly becoming distributed and at least part-time remote, it’s important to update your leadership style to accommodate the new needs of a hybrid workforce.

Read Inc. columnist Jeff Haden’s five effective tips for leading hybrid teams.

New from Gusto

Find the latest relief options in our Small Business Relief Finder.

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Mohini Kundu Mohini Kundu is a news editor on the Gusto content team. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and started her career at The Huffington Post before embracing the #startuplife.
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