President Biden signed an Executive Order on September 9, 2021, that outlines the coronavirus vaccine mandate for Federal Contractors. This order instructed the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) to issue guidance by September 24, 2021, explaining requirements and exceptions to the mandate.
The Executive Order only applies to any new contracts or new contract-like instruments as well as for new solicitations, extensions, renewals and/or exercises of an option for an existing agreement. The Executive Order does not cover: grants; contracts or contact-like instruments or agreements with Indian Tribes (as outlined in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act); contracts or contract-like instruments with values equal to or less than the simplified acquisition threshold; employees who work outside of the United States; and “subcontracts solely for the provision of products.”
Effective dates, processes, record keeping requirements, and other such information is not yet known, but is expected to be addressed by the Task Force. Based on the press conferences held yesterday at the White House, we know that the mandate will remove the current testing option for Federal Contractors and require vaccinations within seventy-five (75) days of the promulgated rule. Employees who refuse to get vaccinated may face standard disciplinary processes for federal workers up to and including termination.
In addition to the Executive Order, the White House also stated that OSHA is developing an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) which will require all employers with one hundred (100) or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. This ETS is still in development and not currently in effect.
HR Partners will continue to keep clients updated on new developments and updated guidance, as they are released.