Joe Biden's Employee Vaccine Rule Means 98 Percent of Companies Unaffected

Joe Biden's sweeping vaccine mandate looks set to apply to tens of millions of workers despite less than 2 percent of companies employing more that 100 people.

The president said that as part of the mandate all employers with more than 100 employees must ensure their staff are vaccinated against COVID, or that they take weekly tests.

Companies who don't comply with the law could face fines of as much as $14,000 for each violation.

Biden has also announced that all healthcare workers and federal contractors must get vaccinated, meaning that the stringent new vaccine rules could apply to more than 100 million people, around two-thirds of the American workforce.

That is despite an overwhelming majority of firms in the U.S. not meeting the number requirement to force their workers to get vaccinated or take regular tests.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a total of 98.1 percent of companies in the U.S. employ fewer than 100 people, with companies with less than than 10 employees accounting for 78.4 percent.

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council confirmed that firms with fewer than 100 workers employ about 33.4 percent of the entire workforce in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.

There were only 8,155 establishments with more than 1,000 employees in the United States in 2018 and those large businesses employed 20 million, or 15.3% of the total 130 million U.S. workforce.

While announcing the plans to introduce a vaccine mandate, Biden said that some major companies such as United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods and "even Fox News" are already requiring their employees to be vaccinated.

He also pleaded for other large businesses to introduce similar measures:

"To those of you running large entertainment venues — from sports arenas to concert venues to movie theaters — please require folks to get vaccinated or show a negative test as a condition of entry," he said.

Some Won't Take the Vaccine

The president also described his frustration at the 80 million eligible people who have still not got the vaccination, as well as the "distinct minority of elected officials" who are "keeping us from turning the corner" in the pandemic.

"These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die," Biden said.

"We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to life as normal."

In a statement to The New York Times, the business lobbying group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it "will work to ensure that employers have the resources, guidance and flexibility necessary to ensure the safety of their employees and customers and comply with public health requirements."

joe biden vaccine
President Joe Biden speaks about combating the coronavirus pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on September 9, 2021, in Washington, DC. Biden is instructing the Department of Labor to draft a rule mandating that all businesses with 100 or more employees require their workers to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images