PROVIDENCE – Fewer than 2% of private state employers would be subject to the new vaccine and testing mandates announced by the Biden administration, yet their workforces comprise nearly half of the state’s private sector labor force, according to data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training shared with PBN on Friday.
A total of 536 state employers fall subject to Biden’s latest announcement, which would impose vaccine mandates or weekly testing requirements for companies with 100 or more workers. In Rhode Island, this would affect more than 185,500 workers, equal to 47.8% of the state private sector workforce, according to DLT data.
At least several of those companies, mostly within the health care industry, have already imposed their own vaccine mandates, including Lifespan Corp., Care New England Health System, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and Blue Cross Blue & Shield of Rhode Island.
In a statement on Thursday, CVS Health Corp. also said it was “ahead of the curve” with a vaccine mandate imposed in August for 300,000 of its workers.
“We’ll review new requirements proposed by the administration and act accordingly,” the company said in a statement.
Details of the federal mandate, to be imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor, are still unclear, including the deadline for when companies would have to comply and whether state and local public sector workers are also included.
In an emailed statement on Friday, DLT Director Matthew Weldon said the state labor department “does not have any authority over the terms of the program.”
DLT labor force and employer data reflects private firms and workers as of March 2021.
Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.
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