By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (Reuters) – The US Department of Labor submitted to the White House on Tuesday the initial text of President Joe Biden’s plan to require private sector workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or be tested regularly .
The Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted the proposed rule for review. Some details could change, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. This decision indicates that the proposed standard could be published soon.
The mandate would apply to companies with 100 or more employees and will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as the Temporary Emergency Standard. This would affect around 80 million workers across the country.
Along with last month’s Biden order that requires all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated, the orders cover 100 million people, or about two-thirds of the U.S. workforce.
The announcement of Biden’s tenure in September came at a watershed moment as the country struggled to control the pandemic and much of the country’s population refused to accept the free vaccinations available for months. The coronavirus has killed more than 700,000 Americans.
The workplace vaccination order has caused the backsliding of many Republican governors. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, on Monday issued an executive order prohibiting businesses and other private entities in his state from requiring Covid-19 vaccination for their employees.
The plan has also received mixed reactions from companies. Many support the government’s goal of speeding up the pace of vaccinations, but small employers and those with mostly hourly workers have expressed concern that the policy may be difficult to implement. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington. Editing by Gerry Doyle)