Many New Jersey business leaders are less than thrilled with President Biden’s mandate that requires private employers with 100 or more workers to make sure they have been vaccinated for COVID, or test their workers for the virus at least once a week.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to spell out in the coming weeks when the mandate will take effect.

Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said many companies “would like to make these decisions of their own volition, taking into consideration their work environment, their workforce and the customers that they serve.”

While people may assume businesses with 100 or more employees are usually large corporations with significant resources, that is simply not the case.

“There’s costs associated with testing that these businesses are going to have to assume, and these are businesses that have been challenged for the last 18 months as we know, economically," she said.

Siekerka said NJBIA plans to speak with New Jersey policymakers and ask for assistance for businesses that may not be able to afford the cost of providing weekly COVID testing.

“Let’s not make this a ‘gotcha’ — let’s make sure we’re doing compliance assistance and helping these businesses along,” she said.

Siekerka pointed out many businesses continue to struggle with filling jobs, which won't be helped if workers leave their positions because of personal opposition to the mandate.

Some companies, however, are happy with the mandate because it gives them the upper hand in convincing their workers to get vaccinated.

Some of the businesses that will be impacted by the mandate, meanwhile, have a completely remote workforce that never even comes into the office.

Siekerka said if an employee chooses to quit because they don’t want to comply with the President’s mandate, or a company is forced to fire the individual, businesses shouldn't be on the hook for their unemployment insurance.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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