Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh headshot
Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended until Jan. 19 the comment period for its COVID-19 vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard.

The comment period was set to expire Dec. 6, but the time was extended by 45 days “to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment,” according to the Labor Department. 

Under the standard, issued Nov. 5, U.S. companies employing 100 or more workers are required to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.

OSHA’s extension of the commenting period comes after its decision to suspend implementation and enforcement of the standard after a court ordered that the agency “take no steps to implement or enforce” the standard “until further court order.” The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay the standard on Nov. 12, OSHA noted. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals now has jurisdiction over challenges to the standard, and the Labor Department has filed a motion to lift the stay.

“If the mandate comes out of the federal appellate court process intact, you can count on OSHA immediately lifting its suspension, establishing new deadlines and giving employers a whole lot to do in an anticipated short amount of time,” Keith Wilkes, labor and employment partner/shareholder at the national law firm Hall Estil, told the McKnight’s Business Daily previously.