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26 Aug

August 2021 New Jersey HR Legal Updates

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New Jersey Requires Vaccines or Testing of Employees in High-Risk or Healthcare Settings

Update Applicable to:
Employers in New Jersey in the covered businesses detailed below.

What happened?
On August 6, 2021, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 252 (EO 252).

What are the details?
The order, effective September 7, 2021, requires employers in the “covered settings” to have adequate policies, privacy protections, and training or education procedures in place. The employer settings covered in the order are as follows:

  • Healthcare facilities:
    • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals (including specialty hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers).
    • Long-term care facilities.
    • Intermediate care facilities.
    • Residential detox, short-term, and long-term residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities.
    • Clinic-based settings (e.g., ambulatory care, urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, Federally Qualified Health Sites, family planning sites, and opioid treatment programs).
    • Community-based healthcare settings (e.g., Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, pediatric and adult medical daycare programs, and licensed home health agencies and registered health care service firms).
  • High-risk congregate settings:
    • State and county correctional facilities.
    • Secure care facilities operated by the Juvenile Justice Commission.
    • Licensed community residences for individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
    • Licensed community residences for adults with mental illness.
    • Certified day programs from individuals with IDD or TBI.
    • Certain long-term care facilities subject to prior New Jersey Department of Health Executive Directives.

Covered settings must establish a policy that requires covered workers to provide adequate proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or submit to COVID-19 testing one to two times weekly minimum. Any covered workers who are not fully vaccinated or have not provided adequate proof of vaccination by the effective date must submit to the testing protocol until fully vaccinated.

Covered workers are considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after receiving the second vaccine dose in a two-dose series or after a single-dose vaccination. The acceptable forms of vaccination proof include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Card issued by the vaccination site (or an electronic or physical copy of the card).
  • An official record from the New Jersey Immunization Information System (or other state registry).
  • A record from a healthcare provider’s portal or record system on official letterhead, signed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, or pharmacist.
  • A military immunization record from the Armed Forces.
  • A docket mobile phone application record or any state specific application that produces a digital health record.

Beginning the effective date, covered workers in a covered setting that are unvaccinated for COVID-19 must submit to COVID-19 testing at least one to two times per week. The covered setting also must establish a policy for tracking test results and report those results to its local health department.

The order can be read here.

An article on the order can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the order here and their current policies on vaccination to process any applicable updates and introduce any required policies to compliant with the state of New Jersey.