In response to the federal government’s recently created COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Governor Ron DeSantis signed bills that affects the impact of this new legislation for the state of Florida. The bills passed during the legislature special session on November 15-17, related to employee protections and parental rights relating to COVID. The first bill states that health decisions for children are fully the right of the parent. The bill also prohibits COVID-19 vaccination mandates for employees who work in government and public education. With respect to private-sector employers, a company can require mandatory vaccinations, but it must offer various exemptions to employees. The exemptions include medical reasons, religious reasons, using personal protective equipment (PPE), immunity based on prior COVID-19 infection, and complying with regular testing which cannot be charged to the employee. The Florida legislature also authorized funds to purse litigation against the federal government over vaccine mandates by the Centers for Medical Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
If companies with less than 100 employees do not follow the new law, they may be fined $10,000 per violation. Larger companies may be fined $50,000 per violation. ConsultStu will keep monitoring the situation and update employers when the Department of Health (DOH) releases the new emergency rules to implement the new law. Read the full notice.