September 24, 2021

Volume XI, Number 267

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COVID-19 Update: New Requirements for Workers in Health Care Facilities in New Jersey

On Aug. 2, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey health care workers in certain state and private facilities must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face consistent COVID-19 testing to help curb the continued spread of the virus. Governor Murphy’s contemporaneous Aug. 2, 2021, press release states the new requirements will apply to private facility settings including, but not limited to:

  • Long-term care and assisted-living facilities

  • County jails

  • Acute-care hospitals and specialty hospitals

  • Short-term and post-acute in-patient rehabs

  • Licensed behavioral health facilities

  • Home health agencies

The heightened compliance requirements will be enforced starting Sept. 7, 2021, requiring all applicable employees to either comply with the vaccine mandate or participate in a COVID-19 testing program (including a minimum of one to two COVID-19 tests per week).  The press release did not indicate the specific testing requirements and procedures for unvaccinated individuals, but states “[t]he State will pursue an aggressive testing cadence for settings of particular concern under its purview” and adds that “[p]rivate facilities are strongly encouraged to consider instituting requirements above and beyond the baseline that will be required by the State.”

Governor Murphy explained:

[w]e are taking this step today because it has been proven time and time again that vaccines save lives and are our way out of this pandemic. Individuals in health care facilities should have confidence in their caretakers, and this measure will help ensure peace of mind for those in higher-risk settings. And we are prepared to consider additional measures if we do not see a satisfactory increase in vaccination uptake in those settings as this new requirement is put into effect.

Governor Murphy’s press release further explained:

[t]his requirement will not alter any entity’s existing stated policy requiring employees to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment without a testing alternative. The Administration will work in collaboration with union and labor partners ahead of the vaccine-requirement deadline and private sector employers are encouraged to similarly work with labor partners as they implement their own vaccination and testing policies.

Health care providers must continue to monitor COVID-19 requirements and are should consult employment counsel to ensure compliance.

©2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 217
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About this Author

Kristine Feher, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, New Jersey, Labor and Immigration Litigation Law Attorney
Shareholder

Kristine J. Feher is an experienced employment litigator and trial attorney, whose practice focuses on representing employers and managers in employment discrimination and wrongful discharge cases arising under employment laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the New Jersey Family Leave Act. In addition, she litigates claims for...

973-443-3273
Wendy Johnson Lario, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, New Jersey, Labor and Employment Attorney
Shareholder

Wendy Johnson Lario is an attorney at the New Jersey Labor & Employment Practice and represents employers in litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and whistleblowing, among others. She appears regularly in federal and state courts in New Jersey and New York and defends employers against charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (NJDCR) and the New York Division of Human Rights (NYDHR). Wendy also provides advice and training to management and in...

973-443-3274
Associate

Scott P. Humphreys is a member of the Labor & Employment Practice in Greenberg Traurig's New Jersey office. He focuses his practice on employment litigation matters arising from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, the ADEA, the FMLA, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, and the New Jersey Family Leave Act. 

Additionally, Scott counsels clients on compliance matters pertaining to applicable state and federal employment laws.

973-443-3221
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