Universal will not require COVID tests for unvaccinated workers

Universal employees will not be required to undergo weekly COVID tests if they are not vaccinated, a decision made in response to a change in federal regulations, the company said.

The ad reverses a universal policy updated 10 days ago.

On January 10, Universal sent a message to workers stating that they should either be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID tests starting February 9 and wear masks in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health’s temporary emergency standard. Administration.

The Supreme Court canceled the requirement on January 13, claiming that the agency had exceeded its authority in issuing the warrant. Universal spokesman Tom Schroder previously said the company would adjust its vaccination and testing policy as legal challenges to COVID regulations move through the courts.

The update sent to Universal employees on Thursday also said employees would be paid if they had to miss a shift due to side effects from the vaccine or a booster shot. This policy extends until April 9, according to the company.

In the post, Universal told employees it would continue to encourage them to get vaccinated but would not require regular vaccinations or testing of employees.

Workers are still required to share their vaccination status with the company, but Universal has made it optional for employees to upload copies of their vaccination cards to prove vaccination.

Universal spokeswoman Alyson Sologaistoa confirmed details of the employee message and said Universal did not change other aspects of its employee policy on Thursday.

She did not respond on Friday when asked if the company was concerned that not requiring proof of vaccination could lead to employees falsely claiming they had been vaccinated.

The company began to require workers to disclose their vaccination status in August.

When the warrant was originally announced, Universal did not say publicly whether employees who claimed to be vaccinated would be asked to provide proof. The policy updated on Jan. 10 asked workers who said they had been vaccinated to upload proof through a company portal.

Unlike Disney, Universal has never required workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Disney suspended its vaccine mandate in November due to state legislation that limited employers’ ability to meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

On Friday, spokeswoman Andrea Finger said the warrant was still pending.

“While our vaccination policy for current employees continues to be suspended, we are pleased with the level of compliance of over 90% of our Cast Members and active Florida-based employees who have already verified their full vaccination status,” a- she said in a statement. .

Disney World does not require weekly COVID-19 testing for employees, according to the company.

A SeaWorld spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the park’s vaccination policy on Friday.

After the Supreme Court ruling last week, U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh defended the OSHA standard and said the agency’s policy was the “best way to protect the nation’s workforce from a virus.” mortal”.

“We urge all employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly to combat this deadly virus in the workplace as effectively as possible,” he said. in a report. “Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers on the job, and OSHA has comprehensive COVID-19 guidance to help them meet their obligation.”

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