US examines authority for companies to tax vaccines
WASHINGTON, Aug.6 (Reuters) – The Biden administration is examining what authority companies have to mandate vaccines, a senior US official told Reuters on Friday, as it considers additional measures that can be taken to stop the spread of the virus. COVID-19.
“We are looking at this just to see how far employers can go with vaccines and ask their employees to get vaccinated,” US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told Reuters. “It’s on the radar.”
United Airlines Inc (UAL.O) on Friday joined companies ranging from Microsoft (MSFT.O) to Tyson Foods (TSN.N) that are mandating COVID-19 vaccines.
Although the snaps are widely available in the country, some Americans have chosen not to obtain them. Meanwhile, the fast-spreading Delta variant threatened to nullify the country’s economic and public health gains.
But the companies struggled with the extent of their authority to demand the shots.
Among the concerns is the possibility that companies could face discrimination lawsuits as they recall staff to their desks after 18 months of work from home induced by the pandemic. Read more
For his part, President Joe Biden has already approved such measures. “I will have the back and the back of other leaders in the private and public sectors if they take such steps,” he said Tuesday.
Yet the federal government, which is the country’s largest employer, stopped short of such measures. They demanded that unvaccinated employees undergo increased testing.
The administration also participated in early political discussions on a “range of options” to “continue to mount a wartime response to the virus,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. These options could include restricting federal funds, such as Medicare money, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities to boost immunizations.
According to preliminary results of an ongoing survey of more than 200 U.S. employers launched on July 19 by Mercer consultants, 14% now require staff to be vaccinated to work at a corporate site.
There have been approximately 2,950 COVID-19 employment lawsuits in the United States since the start of the pandemic, ranging from remote work disputes to workplace safety and discrimination, the Fisher Phillips law firm.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reports by Jeff Mason; Editing by Nick Zieminski
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