Federal Contractors Take Note: Guidance on Vaccination and Safety Requirements Issued

On September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidelines to carry out President Biden’s Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. The guidelines set forth the vaccination requirements and other safety measures that federal contractors must follow and require contractors to designate a person to coordinate implementation and communication of the requirements.

Under the guidelines, contractors with new contracts or extensions or renewals of existing contracts must ensure all covered employees are fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021, unless such employees have requested and been approved for either a medical or religious accommodation. Covered employees include full-time or part-time employees of federal contractors or subcontractors working at a location where any individual working on or in connection with a federal contract is likely to be present. Employees working on federal contracts from their homes must comply with the vaccination requirement, even if those employees never enter a federal or covered workplace. To ensure compliance with the requirements, covered employees must provide to their employers COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards, medical records, immunization records, or other official documentation verifying vaccination status.

The guidelines provide further requirements for masking and social distancing in locations where covered employees are likely to be present during the period of performance of a contract. Vaccinated individuals are not required to socially distance or wear masks in areas of low or moderate transmission but must wear a mask in areas of high or substantial community transmission. Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks and maintain distances of at least six feet from others at all times. Contractors are required to check the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View website at least weekly for community transmission information in all locations that meet the above requirements. Additionally, when the level of community transmission decreases from high or substantial to moderate or low, contractors must wait until at least two consecutive weeks of low transmission before utilizing the applicable protocols.

These requirements must be incorporated into contracts by November 14, 2021, but agencies are encouraged to include the clause in contracts awarded as early as October 15, 2021.

Harter Secrest & Emery’s Labor and Employment attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have regarding the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance. Please contact any Labor and Employment team member at 716.853.1616 or 585.232.6500.

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