April 12, 2024

Under new federal rules, Maine public sector employees must be vaccinated or tested regularly including school teachers

Employees in the public sector (i.e. school staff, state and local government workers, etc.) will be required to be vaccinated or be tested regularly.

Author: Chelsea Bard (NEWS CENTER Maine) | Published: 11:59 AM EDT September 17, 2021 | Updated: 1:39 PM EDT September 17, 2021

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) said Friday the federal government informed them that the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing requirement will apply to public sector employers in Maine, including state, county, and local governments, and public school systems.

Last week, President Biden announced that he has directed OSHA to develop a rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative COVID-19 test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. 

OSHA said they will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to implement this requirement.

The Maine DOL sought clarification from OSHA about the rule’s applicability to public employers because, under longstanding Maine law and a 2015 agreement with the Federal government known as a “state plan,” Maine is required to adopt and enforce for public employers all of OSHA’s occupational safety and health standards.

According to the Maine DOL, Maine is one of 26 states and two territories to have a “state plan” agreement with the federal government.

Under an approved OSHA plan, the Maine Department of Labor is designated as the state agency responsible for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards applicable to state and local government employment throughout the state. Meanwhile, federal OSHA enforces standards in Maine’s private sector employment.

OSHA confirmed with the Maine DOL that the forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard will apply to public sector employers with 100 or more employees in Maine and the 25 other states and two territories with a state OSHA plan.

In Maine, these public entities include: State and local governments, public school systems, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, the Maine Turnpike Authority, and sewer and water districts.

Watch NCM’s full interview with Maine Education Association President Grace Leavitt below.

Source: https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/new-biden-vaccine-testing-requirements-to-apply-to-maine-public-sector-workers/97-b4d152c1-d15c-4cd7-8afe-67c7886fdd1f

Related News Article: https://wgme.com/news/local/how-will-president-bidens-vaccine-mandates-affect-maine-workers