Federal contractors have new guidance and December 8 deadline for vaccine mandates
On September 24, 2021, the U.S. Safer Federal Workforce Task Force released new guidance on compliance with President Joe Biden's Executive Order 14042 “Ensuring Adequate Safety Protocols For Federal Contractors,” which mandates COVID-19 safety protocols that all federal prime contractors and subcontractors must follow.
The mandate applies to all “covered contractor employees,” which is defined as:
any full-time or part-time employee of a covered contractor working on or in connection with a covered contract or working at a covered contractor workplace. This includes employees of covered contractors who are not themselves working on or in connection with a covered contract, but does not include contractor employees who only perform work outside the United States or its outlying areas. Covered contractor workplaces are locations controlled by a covered contractor at which any employee of a covered contractor working on or in connection with a covered contract is likely to be present during the period of performance for a covered contract.
This guidance is applicable to all federal contractors and subcontractors with a covered contract regardless of headcount and regardless of size – so, even small business contractors will be required to conform to the following safety protocols:
- All federal contractor and subcontractor employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than December 8, 2021, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation. There is no option for testing. This applies to every employee, whether or not that employee is currently working on a federal contract. The burden is on the contractor to review and confirm its employees’ vaccination status.
- After December 8, 2021, all covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated by the ﬁrst day of the period of performance on a newly awarded covered contract, and by the ﬁrst day of the period of performance on an exercised option or extended or renewed contract when the clause has been incorporated into the covered contract. This mandate includes any covered contractor employees working remotely, including teleworking from home.
- All employees and even company visitors must comply with masking and physical distancing guidance while in covered contractor workplaces and federal workplaces.
- Federal contractors must designate a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety eﬀorts at covered contractor workplaces.
Immediate action items
- Prepare and distribute an employment policy regarding the vaccination requirements and the limited circumstance exception for an accomodation
- Establish a protocol for verifying your employees’ vaccination status
- Communicate to visitors regarding safety protocol and mask requirements
- Designate a person responsible for COVID-19 workplace safety efforts
If you have any questions regarding this new mandate and guidance, or if you need assistance drafting policies or accomodation forms, please contact Michelle Kantor (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.642.6482). McDonald Hopkins will provide additional information on the guidance in the coming days.