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February 2022: New Jersey Expands Vaccination Requirements for Healthcare Workers and High-Risk Settings

02 Feb

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Update Applicable to:
All employers with healthcare workers and healthcare facilities in the state of New Jersey

What happened?
On January 19, 2022, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed Executive Order 283 (EO 283), which requires healthcare workers and those at high-risk congregate settings to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including receipt of a booster shot, or have their employment terminated.

What are the details?
Effective immediately, workers at New Jersey healthcare facilities and high-risk congregate settings must be fully vaccinated by specific dates or be subject to disciplinary actions for noncompliance.

As of January 19, 2022, healthcare workers in these settings will no longer be permitted to submit to testing as an alternative to full vaccination unless they are exempt from vaccination because they have been provided accommodation.

If an employee does receive an exemption, they must submit to weekly or twice weekly testing in accordance with EO 252, which was signed by Governor Murphy last year.

Consistent with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate requiring healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs to require all employees, volunteers, contractors, and other workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, EO 283 provides the following dates for compliance:

  • All workers must receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by January 27, 2022
  • Unvaccinated workers must receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by January 27, 2022
  • All workers must complete a primary series (i.e., one dose of a single-dose vaccine or all doses of a multiple-dose vaccine series) of a COVID-19 vaccine by February 28, 2022
  • All workers must provide adequate proof of full vaccination status by February 28, 2022. Concerning booster shots, workers must provide sufficient proof of vaccination status within three weeks of becoming eligible for the booster shot, whichever is later.

For purposes of this EO, healthcare and high-risk congregate settings include:

  • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals, including specialty hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers;
  • Long-term care facilities, including the state veterans homes;
  • Intermediate care facilities, including the state developmental centers;
  • Residential detox, short-term and long-term residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities;
  • Clinic-based settings like ambulatory care, urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, family planning sites, and opioid treatment programs;
  • Community-based healthcare settings, including Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and pediatric and adult medical daycare programs;
  • Licensed home health agencies and registered healthcare service firms operating within the state;
  • State and county correctional facilities;
  • Secure care facilities and residential community homes operated by the Juvenile Justice Commission;
  • Licensed community residences for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI);
  • Licensed community residences for adults with mental illness;
  • Certified day programs for individuals with IDD and TBI; and
  • Group homes and psychiatric community homes licensed by DCF.  

Additionally, workers under the EO are defined as:

  • Full- and part-time employees;
  • Contractors; and
  • Other individuals working in the covered setting, including individuals providing operational, custodial, or administrative support.

For more information, please see the links below:

Executive Order 283 (EO 283)

Executive Order 252 (EO 252)

New Jersey Department of Health Article

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and make immediate adjustments to their COVID-19 vaccination policies to ensure they are in compliance with the new law.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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