Vaccinations for AG Workers

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple throughout our communities and industry, creating unique challenges for employers in the industry. Never has it been more important to have an adequate workforce to plant, grow and harvest crops that help feed consumers across the country. 
In September, President Biden directed OSHA to write a rule requiring federal employers, contractors, and subcontractors; private employers with at least 100 workers; and other employers to mandate vaccines or require weekly COVID-19 testing from their employees.  The U.S. Department of Labor is finalizing the text and OSHA is expected to issue the rule soon.

States like Florida have called for Special Sessions to block the Biden Administration’s federal vaccine mandate.  As the government ramps up regulations and you begin accepting temporary agricultural workers, there are a few important things to know. 
    •    November 2021: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nonessential travelers entering the U.S. are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination starting in November. This will not impact unvaccinated H-2A workers, who are approved by the Department of Labor for essential travel.

 January 2022: All essential and nonessential travelers entering the U.S. will be required to show proof of vaccination. This WILL impact H-2A workers.
The NWA joins our colleagues to urge our members to continue to take strong steps to protect the safety of their workplaces and the health of their workers.  Employers should consider coordinating with their local health departments to vaccinate workers and those eligible for boosters.  To avoid delays in 2022, look ahead to temporary workers arriving in January and beyond.  Now is the time to plan for vaccinations that will be required for entry into the U.S.
Oh, and one last important thing ….... As these requirements unfold, employers are reminded to keep all healthcare information collected for employees in a separate file.