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New Guidance Requires Vaccination of Covered Federal Contractor Employees by December 8, 2021

September 29, 2021

On September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued written guidance to implement President Biden’s Executive Order (available here) requiring vaccination for all covered federal contractors and subcontractors.  This guidance will impact any new contract or extension or renewal of an existing contract. 

The guidance requires covered federal contractors and subcontractors to conform to the following safety protocols: 

  1. All employees, including remote workers, must be fully vaccinated no later than December 8, 2021, unless the employee is entitled to a disability or a religious accommodation.
  2. Review documentation of vaccination status in order to verify vaccination status. Contractors cannot rely on employees’ self-attestation that they have been vaccinated.
  3. Ensure all individuals—employees and visitors—comply with published CDC guidance for masking and physical distancing.
  4. Designate a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts. The coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all employees and visitors receive appropriate notice of applicable protocols and ensuring compliance that proper vaccination documentation has been shown. 

For the vaccination mandate, employees who elect the two-dose vaccine must start the vaccination process by early November.  After December 8, 2021, all covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated by the first day of the performance period on a newly awarded covered contract or a renewed or extended contract.   

The Executive Order and guidance applies to the following covered contracts: 

  1. Procurement contracts for services, construction, or a leasehold interest in real property;
  2. Contracts for services covered by the Service Contract Act, 41 U.S.C. § 6701, et seq.;
  3. Contracts for concessions; or
  4. Contracts entered into with the federal government in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public. 

There are five exceptions to these covered contracts: 

  1. Grants;
  2. Contracts or agreements with Indian Tribes;
  3. Contracts whose value is equal or less than the simplified acquisition threshold, as that term is defined in section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (generally $250,000);
  4. Employees performing work outside the United States; or
  5. Subcontracts solely for the provision of products. 

The guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors relating to vaccination requirements is complex and changing rapidly. We will continue to monitor and update you on a regular basis. If you have questions about this or any other workforce issue, please do not hesitate to contact your relationship attorney or one of Honigman’s Labor & Employment attorneys.

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