How many Allen County businesses are impacted by the federal vaccine mandate?

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ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — On Thursday, the federal government announced that companies with 100 or more employees must require its workers to get fully vaccinated — with two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or one shot of Johnson & Johnson — by Jan. 4.

After that date, which was initially scheduled for Dec. 8, any employee who remains unvaccinated must provide a verified negative COVID test weekly. Companies aren’t required to pay for those tests.

Unvaccinated employees also must wear masks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will enforce the rules. Fines for non-compliance will vary based on a company’s size and other factors. A company might have to pay up to $13,653 per individual violator or up to $136,532 for willful violation of the rules.

“It’s going to be affecting, I think it’s fair to say, most workers,” said Rachel Blakeman, the director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue Fort Wayne.

According to 2019 data from the Census Bureau, called County Business Patterns, Allen County has 318 employers who have 100 or more employees. The statistics from 2019 were the most recent data available.

However, Blakeman explained that the vaccine requirement will actually impact much more workers than those who work for those 318 companies.

“It’s hard for us to quantify exactly how many because [the requirement] is not about having 100 employees at a single location, it is about their total employment,” said Blakeman. “Let’s say that you were a restaurant and you’ve got 35 employees, and you’ve got four locations, you’re going to hit that 100 employee mark.”

In July 2021, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. released a list of the Top Employers in Fort Wayne and Allen County. Below is a list of many of the employers that will be impacted by the vaccine requirement, in addition to those who have more than 100 employees at multiple locations.

This list measures full-time equivalents (FTE), not actual head count or number of employees. If an employer has two part-time workers with 20 hours each, that would be one FTE. It provides for a better comparison, but the federal vaccine mandate is the headcount, not a 100 FTE. 

Any employers who have between 100 and 300 employees were not included on the list. Those businesses would also be impacted.

Scott Naltner, of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. said he does not have the ability to break down all 318 of the businesses in Allen County with 100 or more employees into the actual company names.

“If you’re an employer and you’re not sure does this apply to you, now would be an excellent time to be talking to your labor and employment attorney,” said Blakeman.

The following employers sent WANE 15 statements regarding the vaccine mandate:

“Lutheran Health Network stands firm in its commitment to maintain a safe environment for our patients and caregivers. The majority of our caregivers already have chosen to be vaccinated and more are making that choice now. We implemented routine COVID-19 testing of any unvaccinated hospital and clinic staff in early September to ensure the safety of our patients, colleagues and others. We are reviewing the rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid earlier today. Our hospitals and caregiving teams will work to comply with the requirement. We appreciate the cooperation of our team during what has been a challenging time for everyone in healthcare.”

Megan Hubartt, Director of Communications for Lutheran Health Network

“American Electric Power (AEP), I&M’s parent company, continues to focus on the health and safety of our employees and customers and have aligned our response to COVID-19 with guidance from state and federal health officials and our company doctor. We have strongly encouraged our employees to get vaccinated and have provided incentives to those who did. We are evaluating the rules released earlier today and how the requirements will be implemented for our more than 16,000 employees.”

Schnee Garrett, Spokeswoman for American Electric Power (AEP)

“Michelin North America is evaluating the details of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard that were released earlier today. The regulation is complex and requires more time to assess its impact. We remain committed to understanding the implications and making the best possible decisions for our employees, our business and our communities.”

Megan Bagwell, Spokesperson for BF Goodrich

“The majority of Parkview Health co-workers have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and more are receiving vaccinations every day. As we work through the details of the Jan. 4, 2022, deadline for Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities, we are working to get even more co-workers vaccinated before the mandate takes effect.  

Parkview is continuing to make it as easy as possible for co-workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, by offering options such as: Accommodations during work hours to receive the vaccine, Free vaccines through Parkview’s vaccination clinic at the Mirro Center and resources to schedule vaccines at other locations, On-site co-worker vaccine clinic events for both COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.

Tami Brigle, Parkview Health

GM is reviewing the rules and determining the actions we must take to ensure company-wide understanding and compliance. In addition, GM is assessing whether we have obligations associated with separate COVID-19 vaccination requirements as a federal contractor. The review process will be comprehensive, and multiple internal and external stakeholders will support our planning and compliance by Jan. 4, 2022.

We will keep our employees posted as the details of GM’s vaccination compliance plans come together.

GM stands firmly in support of COVID-19 vaccination. The company’s overriding priority is keeping our employees and their families safe. GM continues to encourage employees to get vaccinated given the broad availability of safe and highly effective vaccines, which data consistently show is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.

Maria Raynal, General Motors

“As with any newly released regulation, Lincoln is thoroughly reviewing OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and evaluating how the new regulation impacts our workforce and workplace policies.” 

Holly Fair, Spokeswoman for Lincoln Financial Group

Starting Dec. 5, employers must offer paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and sick leave if workers experience vaccine side effects.

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