New vaccine rules will impact 84M American workers

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — By Jan. 4, new vaccine rules take effect nationwide at companies with 100 employees or more. All employees must be fully vaccinated or get tested weekly.

Unvaccinated employees will have to wear a mask while at work, and employers will have to give paid time off for employees to get vaccinated, as well as sick leave for any side effects from the vaccine that prevent them from working. The new rules will apply to about 84 million workers at medium- and large-sized American businesses.

The mandate is part of the Biden administration’s effort to beat the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s putting a lot of employers in a bind as they have to be the ones to verify vaccination or testing and replace employees who refuse to comply.

Brian Fielkow, who owns Jetco Transportation, is decidedly pro-vaccine but says the new mandate is going to create havoc for businesses like his. He said the vaccines are a “one-way ticket out of the COVID era,” but, “The mandate really causes problems for employers because we’re being brought into what’s essentially a culture war right now.”

Fielkow said the arbitrary nature of the 100-employee cutoff will hurt businesses. A machine shop with 120 employees in desperate need of more workers could lose out to a competitor with 75 employees if those applying are vaccine-hesitant.

He said very large Fortune 500 companies will have a much easier time with the mandate than businesses on Main Street. However, he’s made it clear to his workers that Jetco will pay for testing and will help them comply with the mandate in any way.

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