WASHINGTON, DC — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

This mandate, which targets large companies with more than 100 employees, sets a Jan. 4 deadline for private sector workers to become fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

Here are the most important parts that bakers should know.


Employers are required to develop and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. However, employers may instead establish a policy allowing employees to either become vaccinated or undergo COVID-19 testing — at least weekly or within seven days before returning to work after being absent for a week or longer — and wear a face mask on-site.

This means employers must determine the vaccination status of each employee and keep a roster. Proof of vaccination can come in multiple forms, including a vaccination card, photo of a vaccination card or a verifiable digital vaccine record.

The ETS does not require employers to pay for testing; however, this may be required to comply with other state or local laws, regulations or other agreements. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they are required to give prompt notice. Employers must remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status, until they are no longer contagious (about two weeks).


The ETS also requires keeping the workforce informed. Employers must provide each employee with information, in a language and at a literacy level the employee understands, about the requirements of the ETS and workplace policies established to implement it. This includes information on vaccine efficacy, safety, and the benefits of being vaccinated such as through the CDC document “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines”; protections against retaliation and discrimination; and laws that provide for criminal penalties for knowingly supplying false statements or documentation.

“With the baking industry’s ongoing workforce shortage, thoughtful implementation to come into compliance with a vaccine and testing policy will be critical to keeping our plants operational and Americans fed,” said Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association (ABA). “We want to continue to partner with the federal government in getting Americans vaccinated.”

Bakers can learn more in a webinar that ABA is currently organizing to discuss the OSHA ETS. Any questions can be directed to Lauren Williams at

Learn more about the ETS at OSHA’s FAQ page or webinar.