Biden Orders Vaccine Mandate for Large Companies

Bottles of a COVID-19 vaccine and materials to administer treatment

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Real estate brokerages and associations with 100 or more employees are likely to be affected under the new emergency order requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a mandate for COVID-19 vaccines said to affect more than 80 million in the workforce.

Under the mandate, employers with 100 or more employees must ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. The mandate will also require employers to provide paid time off to allow workers to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects after the shot.

Biden is issuing the new orders through the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration under an “emergency temporary standard.” OSHA has the power to issue standards when “workers are in grave danger” from dangerous hazards, which some are saying will face legal challenges, according to a report in USA Today.

Some real estate–related companies already have vaccine mandates in place. For example, the brokerage Redfin announced last month that it would require all employees returning to the office to be fully vaccinated. Those who haven’t been fully vaccinated will be required to work from home until infection rates subside. Related Cos., a New York–based real estate firm, is requiring its 4,000 employees to get vaccinated—with at least one shot by Aug. 31—or face the possibility of termination.

Biden also issued a vaccine mandate for most federal government workers as well as workers at nursing home facilities and hospitals who receive Medicare and Medicaid funds. He also called for COVID-19 vaccines to be required to attend sports arenas, large concert halls, and other venues holding large gatherings.

OSHA is expected to issue the rule for the vaccine mandates in the coming weeks, according to the White House. Once the rule is implemented, businesses that don’t comply will face “substantial fines” of up to $14,000, according to a senior administration official quoted by USA Today.

Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are not included in the vaccine mandate.

Read more from the National Association of REALTORS®: COVID-19 Guidance for Workplace Vaccination Policies.