A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers in the United States, saying there are “grave statutory and constitutional” issues with it.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday filed an emergency temporary standard with various COVID rules.
Under the standard, employers, who have more than 100 employees, must 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 set a January 4 deadline for full vaccination.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on workers, and we continue to see dangerous levels of cases,” U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said.
“We must take action to implement this emergency temporary standard to contain the virus and protect people in the workplace against the grave danger of COVID-19,” Walsh said.
“The emergency temporary standard does not require employers to pay for testing,” the agency said.
“Employers may be required to pay for testing to comply with other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other collectively negotiated agreements. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings,” the agency added.
On Saturday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay on OSHA’s emergency temporary standard, NBC News reported.
The ruling comes after multiple Republican-led states filed legal challenges against the standard.
The Biden administration is required to respond to a request for a permanent injunction against the rule by 5 p.m. Monday, NBC reported.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the victory on Twitter, saying “we won” and calling Biden’s mandate “unconstitutional overreach.”
OSHA’s mandate would apply to more than 84 million private-sector employees, which is two-thirds of the nation’s private-sector workforce.