COVID-19 and the Workforce: February 4, 2022

TOP HEADLINES 

OSHA Pulls Temporary Vaccine Rule, Says Permanent Mandate is in the Works 
HR Dive – January 25, 2022 
The U.S. Department of Labor will withdraw its emergency temporary standard requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing for workers at large employers but continue to pursue a permanent standard to that effect. 

Weekly Jobless Claims Total 238,000, Fewer Than Expected 
CNBC – February 3, 2022  
Initial filings for unemployment claims totaled a bit fewer than expected last week as companies looked to overcome the impact of the omicron spread. 

What to Expect Now that OSHA Has Withdrawn Its Vaccine-or-Testing ETS 
SHRM – January 26, 2022 
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has withdrawn its emergency temporary standard (ETS), which would have required large businesses to ensure employees are vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Nonetheless, the agency is moving forward with its proposal to issue a permanent standard. Here’s what employers can expect from OSHA in light of the news. 

What’s New from the CDC 
Keep up with all the latest information on COVID-19 directly from the resources created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

GLOBAL NEWS 

AUSTRALIA 
Job Vacancies Surge in Australia as COVID Labor Shortages Choke Supply Chains 
The Guardian – January 11, 2022 
Job vacancies surged across Australia as the lockdowns ended last year, highlighting staff shortages that are now crippling economic activity as COVID cases soar. 

CANADA 
Firms See Increasing Labor Shortages and Wage Pressures — Bank of Canada Survey 
Reuters – January 17, 2022 
Canadian firms see labor shortages intensifying and wage pressure increasing, with strong demand growth and supply chain constraints putting upward pressure on prices. 

INDIA 
India Hits 75% Vaccination Rate Milestone 
DW – January 30, 2022  
India has given at least two vaccines against COVID-19 to 75% of its adult population, the government said on Sunday. The announcement came as the third wave of the virus, driven by the highly infectious omicron variant, appeared to be plateauing in some states. 

UNITED KINGDOM 
Young People Who Lost Jobs in Pandemic in UK ‘Returning to Insecure Work’ 
The Guardian – January 30, 2022 
A report by the Resolution Foundation found young people had returned to work rapidly in late 2021, with unemployment now slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels, but a third of the 18- to 34-year-olds back in the workplace were now in atypical, insecure work. 

UNITED STATES 
Most Major Employers are Keeping Vaccine Mandate for Workers, Despite Supreme Court Ruling 
CNN Business – January 26, 2021 
Many major employers are going ahead with policies to require employees to take steps to combat COVID-19, even if the Supreme Court says they don’t have to do so. 

POLAND 
Poland has Entered a Fifth Wave of COVID, Says Minister 
Reuters – January 17, 2022 
Poland is experiencing a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, the health minister said on Monday, warning that the spread of the Omicron variant could send daily case numbers soaring to levels not yet seen in the country. 

For more information on COVID-19